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The Teaching Space Podcast

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Mar 14, 2020

Episode 86 of The Teaching Space Podcast explores 5 more ways teachers can mark faster and smarter.


This episode is a follow up to podcast episode 6 in which we looked at:

  1. Feedback abbreviations
  2. Feedback database
  3. Rubrics
  4. Peer and self-assessment
  5. Video feedback

1. Work Less Than Your Students

The idea of marking so you work less than your students is inspired by a blog post I read on Teacher Toolkit. It’s not a tool as such, it is more of a mindset, and will, of course, be dictated by your students’ specific needs. However, ask yourself honestly, do you do too much when you mark?

Any example could be as simple as correcting spellings. Rather than correct them, perhaps highlight the word in a specific colour and ensure the student knows that colour means ‘spelling error, please correct’. You might have a colour code. It might be you highlight a paragraph, rather than the word, so the student works harder.

On a similar theme (bear in mind I teach adults), when I receive a typed assignment that has clearly not been spellchecked, I return it to the learner unmarked, asking that spellcheck be applied. My role is not to proofread their work (certainly not at the level I teach). I would likely take a different approach if my student has dyslexia, but still, the onus is on them to do more work than me.

2. Google Classroom Comment Bank

In episode 6 I talked about creating a feedback comment database containing sample feedback text which you could copy and paste then personalise (an important step). This works well for frequently used formative comments.

Since recording that episode, Google Classroom introduced a comment bank. I found a great video showing you how to efficiently use this tool (unfortunately the audio is not great but the content is spot on).

The concept of using the comment bank appeals to me, however, I had found that the Google comment bank required a few too many clicks to be efficient… until I worked out you could access comments immediately using a hashtag. Game changer. I intend to start building a comment bank now.

3. Turnitin Quick Marks

I mentioned Turnitin in the last episode, and since that time I have been exploring the built-in feedback studio.

Turnitin Quick Marks combine feedback codes with a comment bank. When you add a quick mark (e.g. SPAG) a comment is also included, for example ‘there is a spelling, punctuation or grammar error in this sentence, please review and correct’.

Here are some resources from the Turnitin support section:

Instructor Quick Start Guide to Feedback Studio

Student Quick Start Guide to Feedback Studio

Quick Marks Article

4. Assignment Walk-Throughs

In episode 6, I suggested using the Chrome extension Loom to demonstrate the digital marking process for a student. Perhaps a more time-efficient way to reduce marking is to flip this idea. Create short assignment walk-throughs on Loom to guide your student through the assignment. You could highlight command words in the brief for example, or indicate how word count might be split. By providing a screencast, students could go back to the video to check details if they forget.

5. Live Marking

Finally, can you do some live marking in class? I know it might sound controversial. If your students work on paper and need formative feedback, surely it is more useful to provide some feedback sitting next to them while they are still working? This video about live marking summarises the process well.

Wrap Up

And that’s it. If you have any questions about this episode or comments you’d like to share please join The Teaching Space Community:

The show notes for this episode include any links I’ve mentioned; you can find them at

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Thanks for listening and I hope you’ll join me for the next episode.