As much as we love to teach, it’s a fair bet to say that none of us relishes the idea of grading. Some instructors may have found a system that best serves their grading objectives. For those who are still searching, we’ve put together an overview of six ways to approach student assignments that will help you get through grading efficiently while providing your students with meaningful feedback.
Before choosing a method, think about your overall approach to grading by considering some basics. First, define your grading goals and decide if you want to use number or letter grades. Keep your system as simple as possible for yourself and your students. Discuss your method with students before you grade their first assignment. Build in editing time before due dates; experts in writing theory stress the importance of revision when teaching writing. Finally, strive for consistency.
Below are six approaches to grading. We’ve included links to sample grading masters with each grading approach that you can adjust to fit your assignments and objectives.
Assigned Weight. Assignments are graded against a series of elements, each with its own weight. For example, writing mechanics might carry a possible 30 points out of a total of 50.
Check Marks. This system allows students to revise their work as many times as required to earn a check mark, which usually signifies a B. Students’ term grades depend on the number of check-mark assignments.
Contract. At the beginning of a term, students sign contracts that outline criteria for receiving an A, B, and C grade in the course. Their signature confirms that they have read the evaluation criteria.
Dual Criteria. Content and grammar/mechanics carry equivalent values in this method. The instructor defines which errors and how many points to deduct for specific elements of the assignment.
Holistic Method. This method assigns one of three scores: excellent, acceptable, and unacceptable. Specific reasons for the assignation are included. Holistic means based on clearly established criteria, but assignments are considered as a whole, as the name suggests.
Workplace Standards. Grades match levels of professional standards, with an A marking a document that a supervisor would send with no edits, and an F showing no understanding of the assignment.
Which grading method do you use? Share your insights with us!