This week as we crawl towards half I’ll be focusing on time saving tips for GCSE English teachers. As we’re all so pushed for time at this time of year (when aren’t we?) I’ll keep them short and focused. There will be three post throughout the week with three top tips for saving time.

This post will focus on saving time with marking and assessment.


  1. When you have marked and targeted a paragraph of work or a question response in a student’s book, draw a yellow box underneath the target. At the beginning of the next lesson students have to re write their response and improve it based on your target.

It may seem like drawing yellow boxes is a bit of a waste of time (and I know I promised you time saving tips) but the benefits of a few seconds to draw the box save you a lot of time in the long run.

  • When you mark the book again you can see exactly what they have done to improve
  • The improved work in the box can be peer marked according to the target you have set
  • It makes sure your target is reflected on and worked on, rather than ignored
  • You can differentiate by the size of the box and how much you expect students to write
  • You could ask students to draw their own box next time, when they get used to the system
  • You have clear evidence of progression

  1. Do you ever find yourself writing the same target over and over again? This can be avoided by instead creating a short starter activity for the next session based on the common error.

For example, I found that at the start of this year a huge majority of my Year 11 class were getting its and it’s mixed up. I know we have massive curriculum pressure on us but of course they have to get the basics nailed too. I did a simple starter on the difference, got them to create a five sentence quiz on the difference, swap, complete, swap back and peer mark. Boom. More evidence of progression and an active learning activity. Much more effective than me writing out the same target twenty times. All I had to do was explain the difference, they did most of the work (which you know I am a BIG fan of).

  1. Finally, a simple one that has changed my life. Not really, but it has saved me time over the years. Ask students to hand in their books open to the page you need to mark. Rocket science? No. But it takes them seconds to do one and you minutes to do thirty two. Over the year that adds up. Small wins!




Time Saving Tips: Marking and Assessment

4 thoughts on “Time Saving Tips: Marking and Assessment

  • February 7, 2017 at 9:59 pm

    Thank you, great post. A stress-free way to positively reinforce skills & knowledge. Yellow is a good colour choice, so positive & open! We all make mistakes!

    • February 8, 2017 at 4:35 pm

      We do indeed! I’m glad you enjoyed it and I hope you find it useful.

  • February 19, 2017 at 6:01 pm

    I am live marking – changed my life and the progress of my students!

    • February 19, 2017 at 7:32 pm

      Wow! Thanks for that comment Jill, it has made my day!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *