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3 Strategies for Instructors to Reduce Grading Time

Updated: Jun 8, 2022

The education environment constantly changes as learners develop and as we usher in new generations of learners. But with so much constant change, grading remained a stagnant variable in its nature. Despite much rethinking, trials, and tribulations with the grading system, why has it remained unchanged? Traditional grading is easy, convenient, and the norm, so it is understandable that it has remained as popular as it is, but the cons that come with it should be taken into strong consideration.

Even prior to COVID, traditional grading has been facing scrutiny from instructors and learners alike. The impact of the pandemic has created a larger call for action to amend a system that has its flaws. Per NEA, the three major long-standing objections to traditional grading practices are that they do not accurately measure student learning, they do not intrinsically motivate, and they focus too much on non-academic factors such as punctuality or compliance. All of these factors lead to some unwanted academic outcomes for learners, but traditional grading also adds an extra level of stress and workload for instructors as they spend free time reading and examining each learner’s papers or exams. With the valid woe of faculty burnout separating instructors from what they love about their roles, the sheer amount of time spent grading does not lend itself to a healthy learning or instructing environment for anyone. Though qualitative grading that focuses on excellent individualized feedback can lead to positive learning outcomes, it takes a huge toll on the lives and time of instructors. However, there is a happy medium of student motivation, instructor time-saving, and satisfaction for both groups.

This blog will explore 3 ways to reduce time spent grading, including trying different systems than the traditional grading method. Here are our methods of reduction:

  1. Incorporate Participation-Based Grading

  2. Grade as you Go

  3. Use EdTech

Incorporate Participation-Based Grading

Points-based grading is a seemingly logical and valid way to assess learners’ understandings of a specific course concept. However, the stigma of specific numbers or letter grades is the issue that many find with this system. With this, it is very common to add up the point grades of all of the individual mini-assignments into one major point grade. This turns formative assessments into summative ones, a gripe that some learners have with the education system.