Have you ever wept late at night over a stack of essays because your eyes were too tired to read the text? Are you a teacher that spends most of your time at school? Do you carry grades home with you on weekends? For most instructors, these problems may seem to be typical side effects of the profession.
Teachers have a lot on their plates, but evaluating student essays is one of the most challenging and time-consuming jobs.
Even if you set a 2-page restriction for your learners, evaluating 150 papers may take many hours. It’s tough to offer each of your students the personalized, helpful comments you want.
Fortunately, these eight methods may help you grade essays efficiently while still allowing you to spend time with your family, friends and relax.
Make use of the built-in rubrics
When students must do writing assignments by hand (due to technology or time limitations, or just to maintain tradition), it’s critical to provide them with a printed piece of paper that includes the prompt, writing lines, and a rubric. What does this mean in terms of time savings? If the rubric is integrated into the answer page, it must be smaller. Likewise, the student’s answer does. This does not imply that the rubric is attached to the back of the prompt, but rather that it be placed at the bottom corner of the page where students reply. Why? Our students gain from concentrating on writing one or two great paragraphs rather than meandering, and instructors benefit from having a narrower rubric that pushes us to evaluate one or two skills (instead of marking every single error imaginable).
Allow students to choose an answer for you to grade
Assume you offer pupils an assignment in which they must repeatedly practice the same skill. For instance, if you asked students to create annotated bibliography paragraphs and standardized exams, they would do it with ease. Have students circle the paragraph (or practice essay) that best reflects their abilities and knowledge for the job at hand before collecting their answers. As a result, just give that paragraph a grade.
Concentrate on a single element of the essay. This technique may be used in one of two ways:
The first method is to give a grade to each essay based on one element of the assignment, such as supporting evidence, focus, and organization. This speeds up the grading process while still enabling you to provide detailed comments on this particular ability. You may concentrate on various talents at different times.
The second method is to read the whole article and give an overall mark before focusing your comments and suggestions on one specific ability.
For example, if you just taught a few courses on supporting evidence, you might write in-depth comments on your students’ papers for ONLY supporting evidence. For many students, focusing on one ability at a time is more straightforward and more beneficial.
Break up the essay into smaller chunks
Grading takes considerably longer when essays are full of misunderstandings and mistakes. Having the bulk of your students produce excellent final drafts is one way to cut downgrading time.
This may be accomplished by dividing the task into chunks. Work closely with your pupils on their thesis statement and introduction, for example. Work on assembling evidence and composing body paragraphs next. Finally, discuss conclusions with your pupils.
Grading will be considerably more straightforward if you spend time in class helping students work on and polish each essay component. Furthermore, this procedure may be beneficial to student learning.
First, try peer editing
Peer editing before submitting the assignment is another technique that results in polished final versions. Provide a set of questions, criteria, or a rubric for students to utilize in grading each other’s essays. This checklist should be similar to what you’ll be looking for when grading the final manuscript.
Students will edit their writings based on the comments they get from their peers. They should be considered closer to fulfilling your requirements by the time you get their final versions.
Peer editing may also assist students to improve their writing skills. Thinking like a grader offers them a better understanding of what makes an excellent paper—and what doesn’t.
Make a rubric
Make a rubric with precise criteria and examples of what a good essay should look like for each one. It’s particularly beneficial to enlist the assistance of your students in developing the rubric, which will result in more polished papers.
The more you use the rubric, the more you’ll understand what “proficient” means in terms of your criteria, and you’ll be able to evaluate more quickly.
A well-written rubric may also spare you from having to make many comments on each assignment. Simply circle or highlight the student’s achievement level for each criterion, add a personal note or two, and staple it to the student’s paper.
Give collective feedback
Providing group input may be a great time saver if you find yourself writing the same remark on paper after paper.
You may also comment on what each class time seems to struggle with the most or on the most frequent mistakes you notice per class period. This is typically done by glancing over a selection of writings from each time.
You may speed up the procedure even further by skimming over a large sample of essays and jotting down general issues; the choice is yours!
Then cease writing any comments that appear on the list one by one. Instead, make a few PowerPoint slides that identify and explain frequent mistakes or difficulties, either for the whole class or each session.
Return the graded essays to the class. Explain that although they may not have any comments on the paper, you’re going to go through the most frequent mistakes you found. You may then have students look for and fix these problems in their writings or have them write a reflection on which frequent mistakes they observed and how they intend to avoid them in the future.
Use electronic grading
Although some instructors dislike grading on computers, you should give it a try at least once if you haven’t done so before.
Reading typed essays is frequently quicker than interpreting student handwriting, and for some graders, typing remarks takes less time than handwritten criticism. You’ll also be free of those annoying hand cramps.
Electronic grading allows you and the student to keep track of changes, and you won’t have pupils raising their hands to inquire, “What does this comment say?” This is often the consequence of evaluating a large stack of papers, which causes progressively sloppy handwriting.
What are the Functions of Grades?
As a means of communicating about a student’s performance in college and potential for further success to students, parents, graduate schools, professional schools, and future employers; as a means of evaluating student work; as a means of communicating to students, parents, graduate schools, professional schools, and future employers about a student’s performance in college and potential for further success;
As a source of encouragement for pupils to keep studying and improving;
Grades are a way of arranging a lesson, a unit, or a semester in which they indicate transitions and bring a course to a close.
Students get feedback on their learning via grading, clarifying what they understand, what they don’t understand, and where they may grow.
Grading also gives teachers feedback on their students’ progress, which may help them make better teaching choices in the future.
What Makes Grading So Difficult?
Because grades are used to assess student work, it’s critical that they adequately represent the quality of that work and that it’s assessed fairly. Grading with precision and fairness may require a lot of time, which college professors frequently don’t have. Students who are dissatisfied with their grades may often demonstrate their dissatisfaction in ways that give teachers problems. Furthermore, some instructors have discovered that their students’ emphasis on giving numbers to student work gets in the way of real learning.
It’s no wonder that grades are a source of worry for students and that grading is frequently a problematic procedure for teachers, given everything they do and symbolize.
How Can I Provide Better Essay Feedback?
Giving students formative input usually starts with a review of their thesis. Educators must offer helpful advice to help pupils get back on track if there isn’t one or poor and lacks structure.
One of the most critical skills an instructor can acquire is to provide formative, digestible advice when grading papers. When students get timely customized feedback, they are more likely to grasp and understand the ideas being taught.
Despite these apparent advantages, it may be difficult for instructors to provide useful feedback to each student when they have a stack of essays on their desk that all need the same level of care and attention.
The Advantages of Providing Pupils with Formative Feedback
Written feedback is the most common type of feedback in elementary, secondary, and university settings. It helps students improve their work by strengthening their comprehension of the subject when it is given correctly.
Important Aspects of Constructive Feedback for Online Paper Graders
Engaging students in the learning process is another method to assist them to get a better grasp of the subject material. It is not the educator’s responsibility to fix a student’s essay if it lacks a straightforward premise or weak argument. Instead, they should use this teaching opportunity to advance the student’s knowledge.
Here are some of the most critical aspects of successful student feedback.
One of the most essential aspects of excellent feedback is that it be given as soon as possible. That doesn’t have to mean right away, but students shouldn’t have to wait weeks for a teacher’s feedback on their work.
The subject should still be fresh in their minds, and feedback should arrive fast enough for a student to fill up any gaps in their comprehension before moving on to more complex topics that may build on this foundation.
Each student’s comments should seem customized. Every teacher and educator has a few go-to words for saving time, but they should never account for the majority of your comments to students.
Simple compliments such as “Good job” or “Well done” have not been linked to learning improvements in studies because they “offer no information that a student might utilize to enhance his or her work.”
Instead, your formative remarks should mirror the student’s learning style and provide insights and challenges to help them better understand their thinking process.
Teachers should provide relevant feedback to involve students more deeply in the learning process rather than just ‘correcting’ students’ work. They may accomplish so by emphasizing collaborative input over corrective criticism.
Rather than making comments about students’ papers, instructors should ask them questions to help them better grasp the essay subject.
Tips for Improving your Feedback When Grading Papers
Educators may enhance their feedback in various ways to make it more timely, customized, and collaborative. Here are some of our favorite instructor recommendations.
Use open-ended questions
Feedback should not be limited to students who have difficulties with their essays’ grammar, tone, or organization. Students who grasp the content should be given the same amount of attention and encouraged to go even deeper into their subject knowledge.
Use open-ended questions like “What are the ramifications of —?” or “How might you bring in another side of this argument?” to assist students in going to the next level of knowledge. to encourage them to come to more complex and informed judgments.
Create regular checkpoints for feedback
Educators should strive to provide feedback as much as possible without allowing it to take over their lives. Students benefit from frequent check-ins with instructors to verify that they grasp the material thoroughly before going on to the next session or subject.
Instructors are not required to submit their feedback all of the time. In the early phases of essay production, have a sit-down discussion with your students, either in person or via Zoom, to discuss their argument and approach so that you may offer verbal comments.
Provide comments in many formats
If you use multimedia to give feedback, some students will acquire material quicker and more comprehension. Educators may create freeform graphics, charts, and other visual aids by embedding connections to other resources such as videos or photos that illustrate the topic in more depth.