CTL: Center for Teaching and Learning

Grading smarter, not longer: Strategies for making your grading as efficient and effective

Adapted from https://cft.vanderbilt.edu/2012/09/grading-workshop/ and https://www.psychologicalscience.org/ teaching/tips/tips_0101.html

 Let go of practices that do not benefit you or your students

  • Grading work that is not the objective of the assignment.
  • Correcting everything.
  • Grading everything, there are other ways to motivate students.
  • Giving a lot of feedback.
  • Grading all assignments in the same way.
  • Only checking work outside of class time.
  • Grading that you really can’t deal with.

 p.s. don’t let go of fairness, being supportive and kind, providing meaningful and understandable feedback, and consistency

A few types of assignments and grading for efficiency

  • Multiple choice
  • Simplified scale (0, 0.5, 1 point)
  • Test correction and draft assignment points
  • Audio feedback on blackboard
  • Have a document with standard responses
  • Select representative problems to grade
  • Group assignments
  • Classroom assessment techniques (CATs)
  • Minimal Marking
  • Rubrics (below)

 Steps to Creating a Rubric in Blackboard

  1. Go to the Control Panel
  2. Click the Course Tools
  3. Select Rubrics
  4. Click Create rubrics
  5. Name Your Rubric
  6. Provide a Description
  7. Select the type- percent, percent range, points, or points range
  8. Select your criteria and assign a number value (percent or points)
  9. Input your criteria in each area. You can also change the heading titles (instead of novice, etc.)
  10. You can add rows or additional columns
  11. Go into the assignment on BB.
  12. In the grading category, select “add rubric.” Determine the availability of the rubric to the student.
    1. Allow students to view before grading
    2. Allow students to view after grading
    3. Block student access to the rubric totally

Plan assignments to minimize grading

  • Create assignments with clear goals and criteria
  • Use different grading scales for different assignments. Grading scales include:
    • letter grades
    • numerical scale
    • 0, 0.5, or 1 point (check or no check)
    • No grade
    • Consider why you are grading in a particular way for each assignment. Is there a way to reduce your time?

Create a semester’s grading plan that is fair to you and your students.

  • Decide which assignments can be formative and which need to be summative.
  • Measure learning in multiple ways.
  • Prepare students for summative/formal evaluations with activities of a similar challenge level.
  • Responding to student anxiety and questions takes time too, so things to reduce time there:
    • Include grading policies, procedures and standards in your syllabus, including late assignments.
    • Teach your students how your grading and feedback works (like CATs, and minimal grading and rubrics).
    • Teach your students about your expectations.
    • Select assignments and grading strategies so that assignments can be returned promptly.
    • Ask for student feedback on grading mid-semester. While grading policies should not be changed usually, one adjustment mid-semester can be productive.

 Additional resources