How to improve students' grades: 5 Easy Tips for Teachers

Updated: Dec 2, 2021

How can teachers help their students be successful?

Our students' grades are our responsibility. Whether we're parents, teachers or both, we're responsible for making sure that our students get an education that best prepares them for today and tomorrow.

Teachers' efforts don't go unnoticed by their young students. At least they shouldn't. Their grades depend on what we do in the classroom every day to cater to their educational needs. So we need to be certain we're doing everything we can to lessen student failures and increase the grades of every one of our students.


Teaching is a profession that has the power to change lives. The way you build relationships with your students, assign challenging tasks and give feedback on projects can make all the difference between a failing grade and an A+.


In this article, we explore five ways teachers can improve their students' grades.


1. Set a clear grading policy

When grading, make sure you set a clear policy. This makes it easier for students to understand what you’re looking for and how they can improve. Make sure you also give them obvious examples of what you mean by “excellent”, “good”, and “needs improvement”.

Grading can be one of the most challenging parts of your job. Be fair and consistent, but also give good feedback and find ways to motivate students to improve.


One thing you'll often see from teachers is a lack of grading policy. This makes it difficult for students to understand how they will be graded and what they need to do to improve their grades.


Another thing you'll see is teachers who have a grading policy that they have been following for years. However, if you've been teaching for a few years now, it may be time to reconsider your grading policy.

Are the grades you give consistent with those given by other teachers? Do your grading practices take into consideration the needs of many learners? Are there situations in which you have not been consistent with your grading practices?


If any of these questions have made you stop and think about your current grading practices, it's probably time to make some changes.


The easiest way to make your grading policy clear is by writing it down. Having a written policy gives you something concrete to refer to if students have questions about their grades. It also allows students to know exactly what they need to do in order to improve their grades so they can avoid getting lower grades on their assignments or tests.


Here are some tips for developing a grading policy:


Include course expectations and grading scale A grading policy is more than just a list of what students will earn for specific achievements. It should also include the expectations of the course, how to calculate grades, and whether students can retake exams.


Here are some things to consider putting into your grading policy:

  • Establish course expectations

Students need to know exactly what they're signed up for when they're taking a class. If you have expectations for student participation, assignments, homework, quizzes, and tests, be sure to spell them out clearly in your syllabus.

  • Include a grading scale

How do you want to evaluate the performance of your students? Will you use letter grades? Grade point averages? Grades of satisfactory/unsatisfactory? Grading scales help set up reasonable benchmarks for your evaluations so that students understand how to determine their grades.


Discuss rubrics, assessments, and how to calculate grades A critical step to developing a grading policy is discussing it with your students. By showing them what you expect out of them, you will set the right expectations and prevent confusion.

  • Discuss rubrics, assessments, and how to calculate grades.

Make sure that they understand their goals for the project or assignment.

>Students love to know the expectations of their assignments before they work on them. This helps them to stay on task and keep their focus on the work at hand. When you discuss your expectations with your students, you are also giving them valuable information about how they can improve upon their performance in the future.

>They may not realize it now, but this information could help them immensely further down the road.


Grading policies are important to the smooth operation of any classroom. They communicate expectations to your students, provide guidelines for you in terms of how you're going to deal with late assignments and absences, and give parents an idea of what might come at report card time.


There are many aspects to grading policies. Some deal with attendance, some with late assignments, others with makeup work or exams. Your policy should address all these elements.


2. Be consistent with your grading


Be consistent with your grading. It's not always easy to stay consistent, especially if you have over one student who needs to improve their grade. But if you make clear what you expect at the beginning of the term, you'll be able to hold students accountable for their performance.


Use checklists to help you grade consistently. If you're not sure how best to assess a particular assignment, use a checklist that shows the different aspects of what students need for a great paper or project.


For example, if you're working on a science fair project with your students, create a checklist covering everything from the process of experimentation to how well they presented their findings during the presentation.


Keep track of your grading so far with an Excel spreadsheet or grade book template. This will allow you to check back on any discrepancies and ensure that all of your students are being graded fairly and consistently throughout the semester.


The best way to improve your students' grades is through consistent grading. Consistency is important because if your students are aware of what you consider an "A", they're more likely to meet that standard.


Consistency also means that you won't have any surprises at the end of the semester. If there are no curveballs, there are no surprises.


3. Help students develop good study habits


Helping your students get organized and improve their study habits can help them earn better grades. Here's how to do it:

  • Get organized. An excellent system of organization helps everyone, but is especially important for students who have a hard time staying on top of things. A simple grade book will help you keep track of each student's progress, and a planner or day planner allows your students to see assignments coming up and plan study time accordingly.

  • Plan ahead, prepare thoroughly. If a student doesn't have a plan for studying before the test, he'll be unprepared to take the exam. Help your student find out what she needs to know so she can study effectively. Encourage her to seek outside help from the teacher or from a tutor if necessary.

  • Create a test-taking routine. Test anxiety can lead to poor performance on an exam. Before giving an exam, let students know what they're going to need; pencils, paper. And what will happen during the exam; no talking or running in the hallways. — This way they're not distracted by anything once the test begins. Also, create a routine for taking tests — start with elementary questions first and work up from there — set a time limit for taking the test and stick to it.

A big part of getting better grades is developing good study habits that help students learn and retain information. Unfortunately, many students don't know how to study effectively.


To help your students improve their grades, encourage them to create a schedule for studying and stick with it. Help them develop a routine so they understand when and where to do their work.


They might be more successful if they study at the same time and in the same place every day. Remind them to take breaks and reward themselves for accomplishing tasks.


4. Give feedback that helps students improve their work

The most valuable thing I can give my students is feedback that helps them improve their work. It’s important to understand the purpose of feedback. Feedback is not meant to be a judgment or evaluation of them as a person. That’s not fair to them and it’s not fair to you. The purpose of feedback is to improve their work.

Teachers should provide feedback on student work to help students learn from their mistakes and improve their grades. Feedback should be specific to the work, not a general comment about the performance of the student, and it should be provided as soon as possible after students have completed their work.


How to Give Feedback


Giving feedback is an important part of teaching, so here are some tips for doing it well:


Focus on improvement. Teachers should provide constructive feedback to help students improve their work. Focus on what they did well and identify areas to be improved.


This can help them improve their grades, but also teach them how to act in future situations that are similar.


For example, if a teacher is giving feedback about an essay that had minor spelling errors, the teacher could mention that the student included an introduction and conclusion in the essay, which was good.


However, they could also point out that there were some sentences in the middle of the essay that weren't clear or had too many words with difficult spelling in them, which meant they might need to explain what they meant with examples or make shorter sentences.


Feedback like this can help students avoid making similar mistakes in future assignments.


One of the biggest mistakes teachers make is neglecting to tell students when their work is a cut above the rest, or when they've made a real effort to improve a weak area. This can discourage a student who's doing their best, and it can make them feel as if they're always coming up short.


Your students want to succeed. And the best way to help them reach their goals is by giving them constant feedback on where they're going wrong and how to improve.


Giving feedback on students' work is one of the most important things you can do as a teacher. It gives students information they need to improve their grades, and it gives them an opportunity to learn from their mistakes.


5. Teach critical thinking skills to help students learn how to learn on their own


While often seen as a dull and monotonous experience, education can be a great learning opportunity for students if their teachers use learning strategies that appeal to the students' natural learning styles.


The key to this approach is to teach critical thinking skills, which can help your students learn how to learn on their own.


Teaching students how to think critically about the material assigned in the classroom is one of the most important skills you can teach them. Critical thinking skills are vital in helping students to learn how to learn on their own.


A critical thinker will evaluate each situation for its unique set of characteristics and will form rational, logical conclusions that are appropriate for that circumstance. It's done by evaluating all sides of any situation or issue and using this information to come to a decision or solution.


The most important factor of learning is how you think. You can have the best of teachers, or the worst, but if you learn to process new information and come up with effective strategies for your studying, you'll find yourself at an advantage in most walks of life.


You can encourage critical thinking in your students when you:

  1. Encourage them to ask questions and discuss new material with their peers and teacher.

  2. Remind them it's okay not to know the answer and explain why they should encourage others to share new knowledge and ideas with others.

  3. Teach them how to research topics that interest them using the Internet for more information related to their studies.

  4. Point out that it's easier for students who study together to help each other learn rather than simply copying down notes from the board.

Good grades are not just about how much students know, but also their ability to think critically. Critical thinking is an important skill that can help students succeed in school.


Every student has the potential to be a critical thinker, but some will need to be taught how to analyze and solve problems.


These students may struggle in school because they don't know how to manage the workload or what to expect in their classes. They may rely on memorizing information or winging it instead of understanding it.


Your students' grades depend on you


The goal of any teacher is to make sure that every student succeeds, thereby increasing the overall grade average of the classroom. These suggestions might not seem like big steps towards achieving that lofty goal, but they are ways to begin the process.


Teachers can find many more ways to improve their students' grades by being creative and paying close attention to what works best for them and their classroom environment.


As teachers, we need not only to inspire students but also to find ways to motivate them. After all, it's their grades, so let's do all we can for them.