This year is tough. No doubt about it. Colleagues are having conversations around different ways to assess in the virtual online teaching environment in order to ensure students aren’t cheating by, for example, using an app like Photomath to solve equations for them. And sometimes when you look for more open-ended prompts that allow for variety & no one exact solution, it winds up taking longer to mark. So I thought this question from Sabrina on Twitter was timely:
Have a look through all the replies but I thought I would feature a few that stood out to me here. Love this idea from Karen about giving herself a timeline for returning work, graded or not. It happened so often that I trucked piles of marking home, night after night, to wind up not even taking it out of the bag because “I’ll do it tomorrow before class when I get to school & am fresh with renewed energy & motivation”.
Remembering that here in Ontario our final grade is meant to be based on observation, conversation and product; all three. Most of us tend to rely on too much product, me included. It’s tough to get a recorded level written down based on observation & conversations because they happen in the moment & you don’t necessarily have the time to stop & record a level on a checklist. But if you can’t do it in real time, a chunk of time after class is over to use some well-planned observational rubrics, like Meaghan suggests here, and record levels of achievement or anecdotal notes based on your observations & conversations from that class can be helpful:
I appreciated this response from Krista because I could really see myself in it. My style is to mark an entire batch at once. But as Krista points out, it’s hard to carve out that magical block of time to do that. She suggests chunking down to smaller sets. For me, that involved marking an entire set of 1 question. Then coming back to mark the entire set of question #2, etc.
If you’re like me and watch a lot of videos on YouTube (or listen to podcasts) at a speed of 1.25 up to 2 times faster than recorded, then this suggestion from Michael might appeal to you. Have small group Meets & record them. You could open several meets & move between to supervise after hitting record in each. Then rewatch them at a later date but sped up (click the settings cog along the bottom of the video saved to Drive & choose Playback Speed to adjust as desired):
In my first practicum in a grade 8 science classroom I planned a ton of hands-on labs because what’s better than hands-on science, right? My associate teacher smiled and asked if I planned to mark each of the lab reports? Of course, I said! Oh man!!! Her smile should have told me she knew something I didn’t. All those labs are sooooo much work to read through & mark. So I love this suggestion from Audra about only asking for certain sections of the lab report for each lab. This strategy could be applied to other assignment styles beyond science lab reports too:
Another strategy I’ve played with over the years is audio feedback. For a while I was uploading images of student Math tests into Explain Everything & posting a personal video to each student with their feedback as I circled and pointed to that part of their work in the image on the screen. I don’t know if it saved me time or if I spent the same amount of time giving more detailed and informative feedback, but either one is a win. So I liked this reminder from Melanie about audio feedback:
Have you got tips for being a more efficient marker/grader? How to give better or more detailed feedback in the same time or less? Leave a comment below – I’d love to hear your strategies!
– Laura Wheeler (Teacher @ Ridgemont High School, OCDSB; Ottawa, ON)