5 Strategies to Grade Faster

Woman grading stack of papers

Teachers spend 7.5 hours in the classroom each day, followed by an average of 90 additional minutes for afterschool mentoring and staff meetings, followed by another 95 minutes of grading papers and preparing lesson plans at home. That is according to The Washington Post, which highlights the selfless dedication of hardworking teachers who genuinely try to make a positive difference in students’ lives. But no matter how dedicated you are, there is no question that time management and other strategies can help you stay on top of grading. Here are some suggestions to grade faster:

Improvements in Time Management

As a new teacher, you will quickly learn that good time management is your best friend. Some teachers get in the habit of bringing assignments with them everywhere they go. A few minutes spent grading papers here and there can add up. Additionally, stagger the due dates to make your workload more reasonable. Avoid planning a pop quiz for the day after an essay is due, for example. Major projects can have multiple due dates. You can have certain components of a project due on different days. As an added bonus, breaking down big assignments can help students develop a better sense of time management while also helping you grade faster.

Tips for Grading Homework Faster

Simplify your process for grading simple homework assignments, such as those with multiple choice and fill-in-the-blank formats. Some teachers use the pass/fail system for these. Remember that not every assignment must receive a grade. After all, the purpose of school is to learn. For example, elementary school teachers may want to find a set of stamps to use on assignments they are not grading that say, “Excellent,” “Accomplished,” “Promising” and “Developing.”

Tips for Grading Tests Faster

Tests, of course, do need to be graded, but they do not have to be exhaustive. It is more effective for your students and more efficient for you to develop tests with a dozen thought-provoking questions rather than several dozen “busy work” questions.

Strategies for Commenting on Essays

Many teachers find grading essays to be the most challenging. Veteran teachers recommend keeping your comments to a minimum. Add a sentence or two about the overall quality of the essay, and make a quick suggestion for future improvements.

In terms of correcting grammar and language usage, pick your battles wisely. Some English teachers recommend focusing on just one or two aspects of grammar per assignment. The goal with this type of teaching strategy would be to encourage students to focus on one area at a time while also minimizing the number of edits you make on a paper. For example, you can let your students know ahead of time that you will pay close attention to the use of commas and semi-colons for this particular assignment.

Strategies for Grading Essays

It can be challenging to assign a specific grade to an essay. Should you give the student a higher grade for a good effort, even if the end result is less than stellar? Use a rubric to make the process easier and faster. Typical grading rubrics include categories such as grammar, sentence structure, voice, organization and word choice. Consider handing out your rubric to your students so they know exactly how their essays are graded and how they can improve their work.

With the knowledge and skills you gain from your education degree program, you can prepare for a career as a highly effective educator. The College of Education at Grand Canyon University invites you to request more information on our education programs by clicking the button on this page.


  • Strauss, Valerie. “Survey: Teachers work 53 hours per week on average.” The Washington Post. Retrieved from: washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/survey-teachers-work-53-hours-per-week-on-average/2012/03/16/gIQAqGxYGS_blog.html?utm_term=.3d940e141a23

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.