Via @lessonhacks: A Marking System for Real People Who Need to Cry, Eat and Walk Their Dogs

Tips of reducing the workload marking

I rarely ever spend entire evenings marking. In fact, my marking is coming along quite nicely and I was even able to come home last night, cry a bit (because I suffer from bouts of depression) and then write a ‘weird’ story as an outlet for all this modern existential angst. In other words, I was gloriously human.

How do I make time for frolicking childishness and necessary outlets of human weakness? Well, I have a refined marking system. What I’m sharing is based on the fact that I’m a teacher of English. Nonetheless, I think many of the principles are cross-curricular, as it were.


  • NO ‘tick and flick’
  • Put student names on a list for bad presentation rather than writing notes in their books and then have that conversation during a lesson.
  • Use codes in the marking – EOR (effect on reader) etc
  • Put codes in a Powerpoint for the next lesson
  • Use guiding questions in the marking  and make them aware of the reason/rule in a brief summative comment (my school uses www and ebw)
  • Plan while you mark – when you mark you’ve got your next lesson planned. Have your planner or a PowerPoint open and create slides/activities as you see general class issues.
  • Do a workshop lesson after you’ve marked. I use entire lessons to revise topics and to have the students rewrite work. You can also reuse past lessons that cover student weak areas.
  • Extended writing – have the students draw a ‘Teacher Feedback’ box and then a ‘Student Response’ box after their work. Then, you’ll have space to comment and they’ll have space to rewrite work based on this feedback.

This is a Guest Blog submitted by Nicole Schmidt (@lessonhacks), originally published in 2015, and updated in 2019 by the UKEd Editorial team.

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About UKEdChat Editorial 3106 Articles
The Editorial Account of UKEdChat, managed by editor-in-chief Colin Hill, with support from Martin Burrett from the UKEd Magazine. Pedagogy, Resources, Community.

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