Top Tips to Tackle the Marking Workload for Teachers

Marking often feels like a never-ending task – what can you do to get on top of that marking again? We have some ideas below!



Having students mark their own work is a stroke of pure genius. Providing students with the answers to a series of questions/tasks means they’ll easily be able to identify fixes, improvements and mistakes in their own work. Immediate reflection like this also means misconceptions can be caught early instead of waiting for you to find the errors later.

Avoid Triple Impact Marking

Hopefully you work in a school that has a sensible, well-informed marking policy by now but for a short while, it was impossible to avoid the scourge of TIM. Mark the work. Student responds. Mark it again. This endless feedback loop creates an unnecessary amount of work for you, little to no impact on the students and even Ofsted themselves have said it’s a ‘distraction from the core purpose of education’.

Bookmark It!

There’s a lot to be said for knowing exactly what page to turn to when you take an entire set of books home to mark. Provide your students with, or let them create, a marking bookmark. Ask them to leave it in the right spot and pop it back in so students know exactly where to find their feedback too.

Do Some during Class!

Use the quieter, focused moments of your lessons to mark a few books. If you have a well-behaved class who are settled in to an extended task, use that time to sit down at with them, mark some books and deliver some feedback. That way, you might get through 6 or 7 books during the lesson and you won’t look like a deer in the headlights when someone pokes their head around the door and catches you in a book fort at your desk.

Success Criteria Marking

Give your students detailed success criteria, a highlighter and let them go to town on their work and show you exactly where they feel that they have met your criteria. That way you can breeze through their work and add actionable feedback to the areas of weakness and praise the successful parts.

Little and Often

I despair at my former self for taking 30+ books home on a weekend and leaving them until a Sunday evening. The quality of my marking declined the further down the pile I managed to get and the amount of time it took was soul destroying. Do a little at a time, and do it often.

Use Verbal Feedback

When you’re offering verbal feedback, you don’t have time to write down 30 different pieces of individual feedback. If you notice something missing from a student’s work, point it out and ask them to quickly jot the feedback down in a different colour and immediately act upon it going forward. You’ve closed the feedback loop and the student has real, actionable feedback in their book. Just avoid using the ‘Verbal Feedback Given’ stamp.

What else would you suggest to lighten the workload of marking? What marking techniques do you use? Let us know!

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