Evade the grade

Which type of teacher are you?

 The one who grades everything?

 Or the one who grades nothing?

 I was both of those teachers at different points of my decade in the classroom. 

 I was the teacher that graded every assignment with care, making sure I gave crucial feedback so students know how they can improve to strive for mastery.

 I was also the teacher that received an email from my principal asking why I didn’t have any grades online by week three of the quarter. 

 And both went in waves throughout the months and years of teaching…

 However, once I developed some steadfast methods for grading, I was able to do both at the same time - limit the amount of out-of-class time I spent grading while still providing students with meaningful feedback.

 Here are some of those techniques:

1. DON’T GRADE EVERYTHING - Not every assignment, worksheet, bellringer or exit ticket needs a grade. That’s right! You don’t have to grade everything. I typically tried to provide grades three times a week which I felt provided students and parents a good understanding of their progress in the class.

2. DON’T GRADE EVERY PART - Even when I graded an assignment, I didn’t grade every part of an assignment for every student. Sometimes I provided participation points for every part of the assignment other than a question or two which I would actually read in detail for understanding and comprehension. Sometimes I rolled a dice and graded only a section of the class for understanding and comprehension while the other sections of the class received completion grades. 

3. USE RUBRICS WHEN POSSIBLE - Rubrics provide teachers the framework for the assignment and students the expectation. I often used a check and minus approach to rubrics so I could easily and efficiently grade large numbers of projects. This is the same approach used in the Introduction to AFNR curriculum. See an example rubric from the Biotechnology Unit below:

4. USE TECHNOLOGY - Whenever possible, I transferred assignments into Google forms and utilized their technology to grade assignments. This would allow me to only hand-grade extended response or short answer questions on tests which greatly reduced grading time. 

5. SPOT CHECK AND ANSWER KEYS - On assignments where an obvious answer key is provided, have students show their work to make sure they authentically attempted to complete the assignment and then allow them to check their work with an answer key. And you’re in luck! Every assignment in the Introduction to AFNR Curriculum contains an answer key so you and your students can know they are getting the right information! 


By minimizing the amount of time I spent grading, I could maximize my impact on students in and out of the classroom. Check out the Introduction to AFNR Curriculum to ensure your students are engaged all year long while reducing grading and lesson planning!