Merry Marking

“Dear classroom clinic,
By the end of this week, I am going to have hundreds of Christmas end-of-term assessments to mark. Do you have any quick wins for marking lots of assessments at once?” 


The idea of marking hundreds of similar scripts (a realistic one if you’re a secondary foundation subject teacher) sounds horrific, yet it is a reality. Nothing we write can remove that marking but here are some tips to try and help save you some precious minutes.


  1. Marking one question at a time – Marking one question / double-page spread at a time is a great way to get into a rhythm, keeping your mind focused on one part of the mark scheme before you have to think about the next part of the test.
  2. Peer-assessment – Can the students mark parts of the test themselves? Especially multiple choice or short answer questions.
  3. Self-review – You do not necessarily need to write repetitive comments. Why not number/tick mark and then get students to use the mark scheme to write their own comments, using a comment bank to help?
  4. Whole group feedback – Tick mark assessments and write a collective set of notes on frequent mistakes or successes (like an examiner’s report) to save you time writing individual feedback on every paper. This is especially useful for spelling mistakes: instead of correcting every keyword in 120 tests, collate a list of the most frequently incorrect ones and give the whole class that list to then be tested on in a couple of weeks’ time.
  5. Open page – If you’ve done the assessment in exercise books, get students to leave their books open on the correct page. The 10 seconds you save flicking through every book to find the correct page all adds up!


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