How to Catch Up When You’re Behind on Grading

Jeff Horton
3 min readDec 15, 2022

Instead of grading everything, ask students to do one assignment that repeats like journal entries. They should keep all of these in a folder inside the class. Then, they can choose one that represents their ability to turn in for their grade.

It’s also important to limit what you can assign. Students must practice but only get credit for some assignments. Some ways to do this are by implementing a few strategies. One of these is letting students know they can expect to see a few items marked more carefully.

For instance, in a page of math exercises, you can tell students that the numbers 3, 6, 12, and 20 represent the skills they should be working on. You can grade one answer for each skill on every paper without informing students which items will be graded. Your students will find out later which ones were scored, and their “score” will reflect their correct percentage.

Instead of grading every assignment one at a time, try to put each student’s work into larger batches and holistically grade them. This method should help reduce the time that you spend grading. It will also give you a more accurate and comprehensive score.

This method also helps you stop grading every assignment one at a time and enables you to evaluate the student’s work habits. Although it’s important to assess the student’s understanding of certain concepts immediately, this can be done informally during class.

Batch scoring can save you a lot of time when recording scores and marking papers. Instead of making every task an assignment, try calling them practice. Also, instead of giving every practice a score, provide feedback so students can feel valued and improve.

If you need to figure out if this method will work for you, try it out and get the students involved. It’s also a good idea to grade the papers as a class. Students can ask questions and get instant feedback.

To add individual accountability, you can also walk around the room and informally check the students’ papers for accuracy. Give the students an answer key to hold themselves accountable for their actions.

This method aims to ensure that the students can reach their goals while eliminating the need for them to guess the answer. Instead, they can ask questions and learn.

For essay questions, provide a summary of what you’re looking for, and grade the response.

Break up the work into small manageable chunks.

If you have a lot of work to grade, you can get help from other people. For instance, some teachers will let their students help with specific assignments that require only an answer key. Ensure that the students who help you are mature enough to keep their grades private.

This blog was originally published on on December 14, 2022.

Jeff Horton Duluth



Jeff Horton

Jeff Horton is a Duluth-based educator, superintendent, technology enthusiast, and believer in representation. Learn more @