20 ways to cut your grading time in half

“20 ways to cut your grading time in half” was an article that caught my eye, however it was the name of the blog that further piqued my curiosity, the “Cult of Pedagogy”.

 

Jennifer Gonzalez, the Editor in Chief of the Cult of Pedagogy is quick to point out that it isn’t actually a cult, but an online collection of blogs, podcasts, videos and resources, run by a team of people committed to “making you more awesome in the classroom”. Gonzalez started blogging in 2013 and has amassed a range of strategies and learning conversations to support teachers.

 

“20 ways to cut your grading time in half” is simply a collection of ideas to mix and match to help cut back on the time you spend grading student work. Some of the strategies will work more easily in the context of Years 7 -10 or primary school, which is Gonzalez’s background, however, many will work in any teaching context.

 

Research tells us that feedback is key to improving student learning. Gonzales suggests that providing only feedback on a task, instead of grading, is one way to reduce time.  She uses the example of a gymnast learning a new skill, and writes that they don’t receive a score from their coach each time they attempt the skill. The learning period is about trial and error, practise and feedback. Similarly, narrowing your focus when grading so as to only assess a few skills, for example grammar or terminology, is another way to reduce time.

 

Gonzales asks if we can find ways in which to use some kind of shorthand, teach our students how to interpret this, and in turn reducing repeated comment writing. Along with this, having a marking station in the corner of the room, where students can go and correct their own work or even just the simple ‘see three before me’ concept, can reduce the time a teacher spends correcting class tasks.

 

Whilst, we cannot remove the need to assess our student’s work, we can change our approach. This article is helpful in suggesting how we can work a little bit smarter and a little less harder, but still strive to improve student learning.

 

For further information: https://www.cultofpedagogy.com/

Learners need endless feedback, more than they need endless teaching

“Learners need endless feedback, more than they need endless teaching”. (Grant Wiggins)

 

Trial HSC Examinations across NSW have either just finished or about to begin. Students prepare for their trials, they sit them, teachers mark their exams and give them back their results, students spend about one minute looking at their marks.

This is a common cycle that exists in not only HSC classrooms, but in classrooms all over the world with summative tasks. Students deserve better, they deserve to get explicit feedback from their teacher/s about how they did in their examination. After all, in most HSC exams- including PDHPE and CAFS they complete a three hour paper!

For the feedback to be effective, William (2011) reminds us that it MUST provide a recipe for future action and for this to happen it must be designed so as to progress learning. Like in sport, feedback must provide information for students to break down into components and they need to be practiced until fluency is reached.

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