How to be a Pro at Marking Student Work

Marking student's work… do you love it or do you hate it?

The challenges that come with marking students learning vary from grade to grade. In Kindergarten, there is not a lot of content, but it may be difficult to read or decipher student work. In the older grades, the volume of work to mark is usually the struggle for teachers. No matter where you sit on the spectrum, marking is something every teacher needs to do.

We have put together our best marking practices to help you be as productive and efficient as you can when marking student work:

Stamps from @theteachingtools

Organisation is the key

Have your marking resources handy in one easy to access spot (e.g. red/purple/ green pens, stamps, stickers, etc.). That way, when you start marking, you aren't wasting the first 5 minutes looking for the tools you need.

Mark as you go

Move around to students as they are working with a pen and stamp in hand. Getting started and giving students feedback as they are working will save you time later. If you are lucky enough to have other people in your classroom (specialist teachers, learning support officers, teacher’s aides, parents, university students) ask them to help you.

We love these stamps from @theteachingtools (pictured). Grab 10% off when you use the code RAINBOW10 (Note: this is not an affiliate link).

Have a designated marking spot

Have a spot in your room where students leave work that needs to be marked. For worksheets, I like to use a colourful tray. As well, teach them from day one to leave their book open at the page they have been working on. By having the books left open it will save you time, but it does look messy so hopefully, that is a motivator to mark the books quickly.

Group when marking

Choose a group of students to leave detailed feedback in their books each day. If you change this group every day, all your students will get a chance of having some detailed feedback throughout the week. It is also a lot more manageable than trying to write feedback notes to your whole class in the one sitting.

Skip the Bookwork

When planning, consider, does this need to be ‘book work?’ Will the learning experience be the same or enhanced if the students work on whiteboards? Could students brainstorm as a group on art paper? Is a hands-on activity better? Not everything needs to be recorded in a book and marked.

Mark as a class

There are many benefits of students marking their own work, including instant feedback. If you teach your students expectations for marking their own work from the beginning, this can be a huge time saver.

Make a marking investment

A personalized stamp can be a game-changer. Some items of student's work only need to be checked. A 'Checked by {insert name}' stamp will be worth the investment. You can also get other stamps that include positive messages or checklists that can make life a lot easier and save you writing the same thing over and over.

These stamps can be found @misshoneyteachers and she is kindly offering a

15% off your order using the code: RAINBOWSKY15 (Note: this is not an affiliate link).


If you have a comprehensive assessment to mark, such as an end of year Maths test, we highly recommend marking in batches. I do this by marking all the students' first page and then continue onto the second page. You can apply this strategy to lengthier questions by marking one question at a time. This way it allows you to take note of future teaching points if you see the same misconception occurring.

Printable Mini-marking keys

Creating small mini-marking keys to place on student's work is an excellent timesaver I've used over the years. I will usually include the learning objective, followed by the criteria students were expected to meet. Additionally, it provides the option of adding different outcomes students achieved. If you're tech-savvy, you can print them on stickers, or if you haven’t got stickers simply print 8 by 3 mini marking keys on an A4 sheet and cut them up ready to go.

Say goodbye to homework marking

Don't set too much homework that needs hours of marking. Homework is rarely of a high standard and should be designed to support students not create extra work for you or them. If your school requires you to set homework, make some, if not all the elements easy enough for the whole class to review it and mark it together. Ultimately, dedicate your time into planning wonderful lessons in the classroom and keep homework (and marking) to a minimum.

Treat yourself

If you have a more significant marking task ahead of you, like an assessment etc., choose an environment you like to work best in and do it there. It might be sitting in a café, in a comfy chair at home or on a table outside. When you have finished (or throughout), reward yourself!

Marking is a part of the job, not our most favoured part admittedly. We hope some of these ideas help you save some time when marking in your classroom.

What to read next:

Productivity and Efficiency Tips for teachers

Tips for Report Writing Success

8 Ways to Avoid Teacher Burnout

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