How to grade so many assignments?

Discussion in 'Online & DL Teaching' started by jam937, Mar 10, 2014.

  1. jam937

    jam937 New Member

    I am taking an accelerated writing class that is 8 weeks long. There are 17 students in the class. This week we each had 2 discussion posts (350-500 words), 4 discussion responses and 2 papers (2-3 pages long) due.

    How does an instructor grade this many assignments in one week? This is like 68 papers all 2 pages each in one week. That's 136 pages of reading if the instructor read them all. There are this many assignments every week.

    The feedback I received with my grades for these assignments was very generic. My feedback from the instructor was about 300 words for all assignments. Nothing was specific to my work. Obviously it's just a copy/paste job.
  2. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator Staff Member

    You grade as the papers come in and do not wait until the end of the week. I have used tricks like "DragonSpeak" so as I read on one computer I have the gradebook open on the other and speak my comments as I read. In a sense, I read and grade at the same time.
  3. jam937

    jam937 New Member

    Very nice trick/idea. I will remember that one. Most of the classes I have taught have been quiz/exam heavy and very few papers to grade.
  4. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    What I do is set criteria, measure the paper against them, provide key feedback in critical areas, and calculate a grade. I do NOT mark/correct/edit mistakes; I'm nobody's proofreader.

    Is the thesis of the paper clear? Is it well-organized? Does it use grammar correctly and does it follow the prescribed writing style? Are the arguments supported? I can grade a paper in just a few minutes more than it takes to read it.
  5. cookderosa

    cookderosa Resident Chef

    I agree with what everyone has said so far. I only teach on the ground, so I don't know how other teachers grade discussion posts, but as a student, my profs have always just kinda "checked the box" if we did assignment per the rubric. 2 papers per week at 2-3 pages doesn't take that long to grade. Like Rich said, it's not a proof-reading assignment. In my classes I also always have had a very clear rubric. The key to making your life easy here is to have small quantities of points within each set of criteria. For instance if you have to have a title page with A,B,C, info on it, that's worth 1 point. To grade, it's simply a yes or no. When you start into content, you can easily establish whether or not the style is right, grammar issues to a minimum (seriously, there is no point going crazy unless there are real issues. Or you're in an English program lol) and if they met the requirements for word or page length. Beyond that, it probably depends on the class topic. I can grade a 2-3 page paper in 4-6 minutes and spend about that amount of time writing feedback. I think it's disrespectful of a teacher to limit feedback to a few comments. I've said this before, but I had a TESC "mentor" that used to grade my papers like this "good. 100" I hated that.
    I guess the reason you have 2 papers due is because the teacher is doing double weeks, so it's probably not reasonable to cut back much more than that.
  6. graymatter

    graymatter Member

    That seems to be a pretty light load actually. I have 9 classes right now that have those learning activities or more. :)
  7. jhp

    jhp Member

    That DragonSpeak sounds perfect, as long as I can get a cone-of-silence.

    For non-formatted, shorter texts, I suggest Moodle. The tool with modules and plug-ins does grammar, punctuation, plagiarism, and gobbledygook checks. Once that is done, you can get into the meat of things.
  8. latebloomer

    latebloomer New Member

    Compose some generic comments for common situations in a word document to copy and paste from so you are not typing each comment each time (items like common writing mechanic errors).
  9. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator Staff Member

    I have an excel spreadsheet with some dropdowns for different options.
  10. jam937

    jam937 New Member

    This would be very cool if based on the actual rubric. Student got 9, 8, 9 ,7 on rubric measurements so here's the comment!
  11. lawrenceq

    lawrenceq Member

    I'd have an app built and let it do the grading. :)
  12. Smirnoff

    Smirnoff New Member

    Very light.....agree.
  13. Ed Edwards

    Ed Edwards Member

    Um, isn't grading papers like the majority of work teaching an online course? I assume you are getting paid, so how about just reading them and grading them against a rubric? I know not overly helpful but if I am a lifeguard I would assume at some point I am going to have to get wet..
  14. graymatter

    graymatter Member

    Get wet without tools? How does using comment banks compromise the life-saving?
  15. scaredrain

    scaredrain Member

    I would use the rubric and write specific comments. Another option is to set aside a set date and time when you can grade papers. I usually have two days a week where I grade assignments for the courses I am teaching, this way I am not up all night long grading projects.
  16. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    I use a software application that allows me to build feedback in a short period of time. Grading is very time consuming and boring. Feedback has to be detailed enough otherwise you will have to spend time defending your grades when students email you back asking for an explanation for their grades.
    Schools require you to personalize feedback but not so easy to do when need to grade 20 papers and discussions in less than a day.
  17. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator Staff Member

    What software application? I created an Excel spreadsheet with drop-downs to populate sections to create feedback.

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