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What Purposes Do Grades Serve? Barbara Walvoord and Virginia Anderson identify the multiple roles that grades serve: Why is grading often a challenge? Grading with accuracy and fairness can take a lot of time, which is often in short supply for college instructors. Incorporating the strategies below will not eliminate the stress of grading for instructors, but it will decrease that stress and make the process of grading seem less arbitrary — to instructors and students alike.
A Tool for Learning and Assessment. This work might include: Developing criteria may seem like a lot of work, but having clear criteria can save time in the grading process make that process more consistent and fair communicate your expectations to students help you to decide what and how to teach help students understand how their work is graded Sample criteria are available via the following links.
Use different grading scales for different assignments. Spend more time on guiding students in the process of doing work than on grading it.
For each significant assignment, establish a grading schedule and stick to it. Light Grading — Bear in mind that not every piece of student work may need your full attention.
Multiple-Choice Questions — These are easy to grade but can be challenging to write. Look for common student misconceptions and misunderstandings you can use to construct answer choices for your multiple-choice questions, perhaps by looking for patterns in student responses to past open-ended questions.
And while multiple-choice questions are great for assessing recall of factual information, they can also work well to assess conceptual understanding and applications. Test Corrections — Giving students points back for test corrections motivates them to learn from their mistakes, which can be critical in a course in which the material on one test is important for understanding material later in the term.
Moreover, test corrections can actually save time grading, since grading the test the first time requires less feedback to students and grading the corrections often goes quickly because the student responses are mostly correct.
Spreadsheets — Many instructors use spreadsheets e. Excel to keep track of student grades. A spreadsheet program can automate most or all of the calculations you might need to perform to compute student grades. A grading spreadsheet can also reveal informative patterns in student grades.
Link your comments and feedback to the goals for an assignment. Comment primarily on patterns — representative strengths and weaknesses. In your final comments, ask questions that will guide further inquiry by students rather than provide answers for them. Maintaining Grading Consistency in Multi-sectioned Courses for course heads Communicate your grading policies, standards, and criteria to teaching assistants, graders, and students in your course.
Discuss your expectations about all facets of grading criteria, timeliness, consistency, grade disputes, etc with your teaching assistants and graders. Encourage teaching assistants and graders to share grading concerns and questions with you. Use an appropriate group grading strategy: Minimizing Student Complaints about Grading Include your grading policies, procedures, and standards in your syllabus.
Distribute your grading criteria to students at the beginning of the term and remind them of the relevant criteria when assigning and returning work. Keep in-class discussion of grades to a minimum, focusing rather on course learning goals.Learning how to write a good essay with a powerful introduction, clear arguments and well-crafted conclusion is a great way to build a foundation of writing skills.
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