Grades are a necessary part of the college experience, but they don’t have to be counterproductive if students know what to expect. Below are some tips and strategies to help maintain fairness and consistency in your assessment of student work and save yourself some time and effort while grading.
Consistency is Key: Maintain consistency in your grading standards and practices throughout the course. This ensures fairness and helps students understand your grading criteria.
Establish Clear Rubrics: Rubrics provide students with clear expectations and make grading more objective and efficient. To learn how to create detailed grading rubrics for assignments and exams review our rubrics site.
Set Deadlines: Establish clear grading deadlines for yourself and communicate them to your students. Consistently meeting these deadlines helps you stay on track and reduces the backlog of ungraded assignments.
Prioritize Assignments: Not all assignments are equally important. Focus your time and energy on grading assignments that have the highest stakes for your students and align with the course objectives and student learning outcomes. Consider:
- Self-Assessment: Encourage students to self-assess their work before submission. This can lead to more thoughtful submissions and may reduce the need for extensive grading.
- Peer Grading: Incorporate peer grading into some assignments to reduce your grading workload while promoting student engagement and peer learning.
- Batch Grading: Grade assignments in batches rather than individually. This allows you to get into a grading flow and reduces the time spent switching between different tasks.
Use Canvas to streamline the grading process: To see an overview of the many features Canvas has to help with grading, watch the Canvas SpeedGrader video. For more review the How do I use the Canvas Gradebook? page.
Use Efficient Feedback Methods: Instead of writing extensive comments, consider using abbreviations, symbols, or highlighting key areas for improvement. Remember to provide a balance between praise and constructive criticism. Canvas can help you provide audio or video feedback. To learn how review the:
- How do I leave feedback comments for student submissions in SpeedGrader?
- How do I see the Comment Library in SpeedGrader?
- How do I hide student names in SpeedGrader? (for anonymity)
Reflect and Adjust: After each grading cycle, take some time to reflect on your grading process. Identify areas for improvement and adjust your methods accordingly. Continuous improvement can lead to greater efficiency.
For additional tips for creating assessments and grading, including the importance of kindness and setting a growth mindset, review this Grading page.
A college class should be a place where students can safely experiment, ask questions and fail without consequence. It should be a place where we trust students with their own learning and not simply ask for rote memorization. What if students spent more time thinking about what they were learning instead of how many points they will get if they meet the required word count? What if instead of assigning word count, we asked students to answer a series of questions about what they’ve learned and how it applies specifically to their unique situation?
Ungrading is simply taking an assignment (or a full course) and removing the stigma of an associated number, percentage or letter grade. Faculty still provide feedback, but the feedback is designed to help students improve, and in many cases redo their work. Many faculty who use ungrading in their courses require students to submit self-evaluation products like reflections or process documents with explanations of what grade they think they deserve and why.
You and your students may feel uncomfortable at first, but honest conversations about grading, self-reflection and learning will quickly make everyone more comfortable, and even excited, about your course.