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Streamline your marking workflow

It is common for teaching staff to have periods where large volumes of marking are required in a short space of time. This guide considers some practices that may help you to manage this effectively. Firstly, it offers tips for turning around marking in an effective manner. Secondly, it focuses on how best to support students with resit and deferral submissions, which can generate large amounts marking.  

Read on to find out more about how to support yourself and your students with these challenges.

Support efficient marking and meeting short turnaround times 

Marking in Turnitin 

When marking in Turnitin, you (and other members of your team) may have previously marked similar submissions. It can be helpful to revisit previous marking and build up a bank of comments typically used when writing feedback. 

Woman marking student assessments on a laptop

So, consider: 

  • Developing a bank of comments and import these into QUICKMARKS. See an example of a bank of comments in appendix 1, titled “Bank of comments”. 
  • Developing a bank of comments to copy into the OVERALL FEEDBACK comment space. See examples in appendix 2, titled “Giving feedback” 

A “bank of comments” approach can still be adopted even if marking does not take place in Turnitin, e.g. when marking in HANDIN, or marking in MS Word documents or using MS Excel spreadsheets for giving feedback. 

  • Using the rubric functionality in Turnitin and import your assessment criteria and rubric. This can be quantitative of qualitative in nature. 
  • Recording audio feedback can be done in Turnitin (up to 3 minutes).  

Marking and giving feedback using audio or video recordings 

Professor giving video feedback to students

Depending on the nature of the submission, and in particular if submitted in Handin, consider giving audio and or video feedback.  Audio feedback is powerful in the sense that you speak directly to the student, but is also a quick and easy manner of giving feedback in comparison to writing/typing feedback, and is more likely to engage the receiver of the feedback. 

  • A quick and easy method is to use a tool such as Screencast-O-Matic that simultaneously records the screen and audio.  

If you’re new to video, you can find some help on creating great videos here on the knowledge base.

Generic feedback 

This type of feedback can work well with larger groups of students and can be an effective way of highlighting common issues identified in marking the assessment. Generic feedback can be very effective when combined with individual feedback, as it enables the student to understand their own performance in relation to the wider cohort. For markers, this can make the process more effective as key points will have already been relayed as part of the generic feedback.  

When preparing generic feedback (oral or written), it is helpful to: 

  • Restate the requirements of the assignment and link to the assessment criteria. 
  • Summarise aspects of the assessment task that were generally done well. You might give examples, but, if so, keep them anonymous. 
  • Summarise common issues and areas for improvement (e.g. academic writing skills, elements of the task that students have missed, etc).  Again, keep examples anonymous. 
  • Provide clear guidance to help students improve their future assessments (feed-forward).  

Optimise your workspace when marking 

We often forget about optimising our workspace to enable us to prevent strain and help maintain motivation and stamina. 

Raised laptop next to a second screen

Make yourself comfortable. Take regular breaks to look away from the screen; do some stretches; close your eyes and take 10 deep breaths- whatever works for you. If necessary, set a timer to remind yourself to take regular breaks.  

If available, consider using:  

  • a standing desk  
  • two monitors (e.g. use one to display the marking rubric and one to display the assignment as you mark it) 
  • a large monitor to reduce eye strain  
  • different settings on your monitor so that brightness, contrast etc. are optimised.   
  • Print out useful documents, such as the marking rubric, so that they are easily accessible. 
  • Ensure that your “out of office” message is on to manage others’ expectations e.g. “I am currently prioritising marking and will aim to reply within three working days”.  

Supporting students with resit and deferral submissions  

We often neglect to support students who have had to defer or resubmit an assignment.  So, consider planning and offering reminders, support and guidance to enable students to become confident in working on their assessment tasks. This is particularly important in a period where the teaching has been completed, such as in deferral and resit periods. This, in turn, can help to reduce instances of non-submission and enable to you mark the work as planned.  

Some ways you might support students in the resit and deferral process include: 

  • Sending regular reminders of the submission deadline dates. 
  • Offering a “mop-up” assessment support session. This can be synchronous (e.g. a webinar with guidance) or asynchronous (e.g. a reminder or support material and guidance already available to students). 
  • Developing (and or/re-using) guidance and support with the assignment (e.g. a PowerPoint video talking through the assessment task). 
  • Creating a self-assessment or self-check sheet to ensure that students check drafts. 
  • Re-introducing the assessment criteria and rubric, or self-assessing against this criteria and rubrics. 
  • Sharing exemplars or extracts from exemplars, as is traditionally done when launching assessment tasks. 

For further tips on enhancing your assessment and feedback practice, check out the resources on the Academic Development website. The AcDev team also run frequent workshops on these topics, where you can discuss and develop your practice along with your colleagues. Please check the booking system for the latest opportunities.    


  • Annie Bryan

    Annie is part of the Academic Development team, working to support academics from across the Coventry University Group to provide excellent teaching and learning. She has a particular interest in assessment and inclusive practice.

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  • Hannelie Du Plessis-Walker

    Hannelie is an Assistant Professor, Academic Development and involved in delivery of the PG Cert Academic Practice in Higher Education as well as assessment and feedback related academic development workshops.

    View all posts
Updated on June 7, 2021
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