What We Don’t Talk About When We Talk About Grading

Organize Your Workspace / papers

The best grading is specific, constructive, and back in students’ hands in a timely fashion. Most teachers agree with this. Research shows this. And, let’s be honest, you knew it anyway.

So why haven’t you finished grading that pile on your desk?

And why is grading the part of the job most likely to cover your kitchen table, ruin your weekends, and never, ever be finished?

Part of the answer comes down to simple math.

Ten minutes worth of detailed comments per paper on 150 high school essays equals 25 hours of grading. The same goes for grading thirty elementary students’ work in five different subjects. Even one minute per assignment adds up to two and a half hours—and students do more than one assignment each week.

The two topics missing from most discussions about grading are time and tradeoffs.

Teachers know constructive, specific, timely feedback is important.

At the same time, you know much of the grading you do probably isn’t perfect. And if it’s perfect, it probably isn’t done.

Many sessions of See Me After Class Office Hours touch on how hard it is to keep up with grading. Sometimes this is the topic of the entire session—or even more than one session. Other times it’s more of an undertone of a discussion about why a teacher’s whole treadmill constantly feels notched up too high.

The good news is that there are ways to make grading more keep-up-with-able for teachers while still doing justice to student work. An honest, nuanced, practical discussion is the best place to start.

Need help creating your grading game plan?

One session of See Me After Class Office Hours could be the first step to saving hours a week for the rest of your career.

Office Hours are confidential Zoom or phone sessions tailored to any teaching-related topic you want to talk about. Here is a more detailed explanation of See Me After Class Office Hours and how they work.

To book a single session, select a date from the calendar below and then click on the time slot that works. You can also find information on half-length sessions, short-notice sessions, and discounted 3-session packages on the official See Me After Class Office Hours page. If you experience any technical difficulties, you can also try this direct link to the booking page.

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