Some of the biggest perks of being a Graider are the ability to manage and create your own work schedule and the freedom to work when it is most convenient for you. Each assignment on the board will show you an estimated number of students, an estimated time per student based on expected assignment length, and estimated total time for the section.
Sometimes, especially when just starting out, Graiders spend more time per student than estimated. Sometimes this difference is fairly significant. There is a learning curve, and you should find that grading comes much easier as you complete more assignments and become a feedback pro!
Here are some tips to help you grade efficiently and effectively so that you can continue to create your own schedule with confidence as well, complete assignments on time, and be compensated fairly for the time you've invested!
Invest time up front to internalize the learning goals of the assignment. Before you start grading, make sure you understand exactly what was expected of students so you know how to approach your grading. Closely review the prompt and supporting documents and read any additional instructions from the teacher. Every assignment is different, Study the rubric to understand the scoring expectations and what language you should use in your feedback. This will save you time in the long run!
- Check the assignment early to make sure you understand what is required of you. Every assignment is unique, and sometimes teachers require different types of feedback. For example, your assignment may require in-line comments or rationale-style feedback. If you have not completed these types of assignments before, be sure you understand expectations, and ask any questions you may have about the assignment. This will help you complete your work more efficiently and guarantee that you will not receive a Revision Request for completing the assignment in the incorrect format or missing a critical step.
Space it out. Get started on your assignment early by grading 3–5 students within 24 hours of receiving student work. This way, you can get ahead of potential questions and allow us a chance to review your work. Once we review your work we can provide coaching to let you know how you are doing so far. This can save you TONS of time. If there is something that needs to be changed in your feedback, it is much better to make corrections after five students than to receive a revision request for the whole class. Taking breaks between students will also keep your work fresh and personalized.
Time yourself. Set a timer for the max amount of time you can spend on each student. It will be hard at first, but push yourself to enter feedback within the set amount of time.
Don't overthink it. Sometimes Graiders who are super strong writers and analytical thinkers have trouble making estimated times because they're spending too much time trying to decide on what to comment on and on making their feedback as close to perfect as possible. They're mentally juggling the student's work, the prompt, the rubric, and the hallmarks of effective feedback they learned during onboarding.
Especially if you've ever been called a perfectionist, try to take a step back! When reading a student's essay there will be some elements that jump out at you. Perhaps you were confused by the connection of the evidence to the claim in the third paragraph. Perhaps in the middle school narrative, you didn't understand what the alien's conflict was on page 3. Maybe a student accidentally argued for school uniforms when their main claim was against them.
If you have internalized the prompt and rubric and are keeping them in mind when reading student work, these gut reactions are often the things you should provide feedback on. Remember, at its core, feedback is simply an objective response to performance in relation to a goal. If you're responding directly to the things you noticed about student work, you're probably on the right track.
Use shorthand to take notes as you read. When reading student work, take short notes about what stands out as you read. Draft these notes in a notes tab or directly in the grading platform. These quick notes can serve as the basis for specific information and references to the student’s work when you go on to choose the most important areas of focus and write your feedback. (On a similar note, some Graiders find that assignments requiring in-line comments are easiest because once they've commented in-line, crafting summary feedback is ten times easier!)