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  • Writer's pictureAlways Upper Elementary

STOP Spending Hours Grading! Use These Tips!

Updated: Mar 9, 2023

Unpopular opinion… teachers don’t need to grade every assignment!


Many teachers feel the pressure to grade every single worksheet, project, and assignment. But the reality is that it takes up SO much time and is not very beneficial for students!

✏️ If we grade every assignment, then…

  • students become more focused on their grades rather than their overall growth and learning

  • students become immune to our feedback and pay less attention to it

  • students’ intrinsic motivation decreases

  • we can easily end up working overtime without much added value our students

✏️ Effective alternatives are…

  • grading based on completion (versus correcting each individual problem)

  • having students demonstrate their learning in a format of their choice–that way, you will know what they have learned, but you do not need to give a grade

  • utilizing online programs that analyze student progress for you (for example, iXL or Lexia)

  • only correcting or providing feedback for one problem on the page

  • giving verbal feedback

  • using Google Forms or programs that grade for you!

  • doing more informal assessments

  • having students check their own work on an answer key to see which problems they need more work on–you don’t need to worry about cheating because you don’t need to give a grade!

  • circulating the room while students are working and checking their work in the moment

  • having students complete problems on mini whiteboards, so you can easily see who is understanding the concept and who is not

  • giving students a stamp or star on their paper at the end of small group work time. Then, have them put their paper directly into their mailbox! They don’t need to turn it in because you have already seen it!

    • *Side note: If you would like to try this grading strategy, and you are looking for THE BEST markers ever.... click on the links below. Trust me, they truly are the best markers ever--they have dual tips, write very smoothly, don't dry out, and last for years!

    • 6 Pack of Erin Condren Markers

    • 10 Pack of Erin Condren Markers

Grading every assignment is one major contributor to teacher burnout! It is overwhelming and not sustainable. Plus, it is not best for students either!


We need to increase our students’ intrinsic motivation. They should be putting forth effort because they want to learn, grow, and be successful. Not because they want to receive an A.


By using these effective alternatives, I am actually a better teacher because I am more present as I am concentrating on student work. I am also a happier teacher because I am able to stick to a 40-43 hour work week, instead of working overtime. My students value the feedback I give to them on select assignments and their papers don't end up in the recycling 30 seconds later. They are motivated to LEARN and not motivated by a letter grade.


Do you grade every assignment in your classroom? Are there any other effective alternatives you would add to this list? Let me know your perspective in the comments or message me over on Instagram @always.upper.elementary. I would love to hear your thoughts! Also, if you choose to purchase the best markers EVER that are linked above (seriously...they are the best for grading!), I appreciate you using the affiliate links that are embedded into this blog post–thank you in advance for your support! :)


Lastly, make sure to follow me on Teachers Pay Teachers at this link! You will be the first to know about my sales, freebies, and newest products.


Happy teaching!


Natalie




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