Grading Homework

Grading Homework

Grading Homework can be such a chore. However, it can also be an effective way to give important feedback to students on how they are progressing and what they can be doing better. Here are a few ways to make homework work!

A – B – Not yet

My very favorite technique for grading homework. It requires a bit of dedication and a good deal of organization but if you have those two it can really pay off. I got this Idea from a fellow teacher who used it in her room and I thought the Idea was amazing. It goes like this. Choose a homework assignment that is truly an important concept. They are all important but lets face it, the triangle sum theorem is probably more important than say, doing tessalations, or the formula for the number of diagonals in a polygon. I say one because if you do this with every assignment you and the students will get a bit overwhelmed. Maybe one assignment every week woud be a good goal. Anyway after choosing a particularly important assignment hand grade three random problems. If They miss none give them an A (whatever that is in points for you) and move on. If they miss one give them a B and move on. If they miss 2 or more give them a NY (Not Yet). </p

Now the tricky part. Give the students back their papers (quickly is better). The A’s and B’s get their grade but the “NY’s” have to redo the assignment and fix it. tell them they may get help from an A or a B or from you. or whatever you want. but they have to turn it back in in 2-3 days. When they do grade it again 3 random problems, and repeat. The challenge comes in keeping track of who has an A who has B and who has a NY. the best way is to use a grade program that will let you assign a memo to the grades and update it every time you do it.

This forces the students to be accountable for the quality of their work instead of doing a mediocre job and just moving on with a D or F. Also it forces students to actually learn by doing the work.

Student Correcting

This is good method for grading homework because it gives students feedback on their performance without taking a lot of your time and without giving F’s to those who didn’t “get it.” It also reinforces good habits in doing homework.

On the date the assignment is due have an overhead or some other version you can display for students. let them correct their own papers using a pen or contrasting color so it’s obvious. This works best if the answers that you display contain all of the work required to complete the problem, Let’s Practice Geometry, is perfect for this because each problem is already worked out for you. Most texts only display the final answer, or worked out solutions for some of the problems. This is okay but it is best when all the problems are worked out for the students.

After they finish correcting tell them this. Give yourself one point if you put your name on your paper, one point if you showed your work on every problem, one point if you corrected every problem, one point if you got 80% right (figure out what that number is for them if you want it to be accurate for everyone) and one point if you got 90% right. that’s using a 5 point system. you can make up your own if you want to do a 3 point system or 10 point or whatever. I also like to give a bonus point or two for things like getting the hardest problem right, only missing one or less and things like that. Have them right their score out of 5 next to their name and then pass them in. You can also go around with a clipboard or your laptop and read the scores off their papers while they are doing something else.

Visual Scan

This method of grading homework is the most time effective for you but doesn’t give students the same level of accountability as the other two. While students are correcting their work from the answers on the overhead or projector go around and look at each paper and decide on a score based on what you see at a glance. Did they do all the problems? did they show their work? perhaps know the answer to one key problem and look for that. Then give them a score. I like a 5 point system but whatever points you want. Carry a clipboard or entry device with you and enter each students score as you see their paper.

The disadvantage of this is obvious so don’t recomend this method as the only means of checking assignments but ifyou use it a couple times a week it still holds students accountable for doing the work but frees you from managing the huge stack of papers.

Homework Quiz

A homework quiz can be a great way to grade homework. What you do is create and assignment and give students just the value of the answers. When they do the work require them to show all of their work. The next day give them time to ask questions the give a quiz on 2-3 of the problems with only one or two numbers changed on each one. Grading this little quiz will tell you weather or not they understood and are able to do the problems. If you do this in conjunction with a visual scan to make sure they actually did show their work you will create a very powerful system of assessing homework and holding students accountable.


There are many homework grading systems that teachers like to use but at minimum when grading homework you should show students the answers with all of the problems worked out. Students who look at these details and learn a lot just by correcting their own work.

I usually use a combination of these methods with daily homework usually graded by student correcting or visual scan, and the most important assignments by A B NY give them a try and if you have another idea you think should be included email me.

Happy grading!

Leave a Reply