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Grading and Giving Feedback

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Time Saving Strategies for Evaluating Student Writing

  • Avoid marking all of the errors in a paper. Years of research have shown that when the instructor edits the student’s paper, the students doesn’t learn the grammar/mechanics rule. Instead, identify errors on the first page, and then make the student responsible for finding the errors on subsequent pages.
  • Provide students with an error analysis checklist that will allow them to keep track of the types of errors they most commonly tend to make. Click on sample checklist to download a template.

  • Use summative feedback and rubrics for final drafts. Students rarely revise a final paper after the grade is already given, unless this has been built into the course and the assignment.

  • Use a “check plus, check, or check minus system” for informal, quick feedback.

  • Use peer review groups to provide students an opportunity to give each other feedback on their assignments. Click on sample peer review sheet to download a template.

  • Use a rubric and evaluation grid for assignments. This will allow you to plug-in numbers and scores in an efficient and timely manner. For sample rubrics, do a search at iRubric.

  • If writing directly on a student's paper, develop a symbol system--a type of shorthand to save time. If you are using a word processing program on a computer, develop templates for common types of feedback that you can cut and paste. Please check out Proofreaders' Marks list.

  • Save Paper: Require that students turn in electronic copies of papers (use dropbox or your college’s online course management system) and provide feedback using the comments tool in your chosen platform or Word processor.

  • Provide students an opportunity to practice their metacognitive skills by reflecting on how well they did on their assignment. Use the Learning Log worksheet from Dr. Jan Connell.

This information was adapted from the following:

UC Berkeley’s Teaching Guide for Graduate Instructors provides a helpful overview of strategies for responding to students' papers. This site covers how to respond to student errors, formative and summative feedback, plagiarism, and time management strategies for grading.  

Rubrics

In the age of data driven decision making and informed assessments, rubrics have become a popular tool for communicating to students the evaluation criteria that the instructor is using  to grade  a particular assignment. In addition to providing a framework for evaluating individual assignments, rubrics can be an integral component for assessing Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs).

Resources for Writing Assignment Rubrics

From North Central College, Jon Mueller’s  Authentic Assessment Toolbox website provides a general overview of creating rubric descriptors and levels of performance. This site also discusses the difference between analytic and holistic rubrics.

Heidi Goodrich Andrade's article, The Effects of Instructional Rubrics on Learning to Writepublished in Current Issues in Education provides a detailed overview of using rubrics in Eighth Grade writing classes. The research and examples are relevant to college writing as well. 

Andrew Schenck’s article Building a Better Mousetrap: Replacing Subjective Writing Rubrics with More Empirically-Sound Alternatives for EFL Learners​explores the controversy behind creating and sharing rubrics with students and provides suggestions for creating rubrics that avoid formulaic writing.