Why Care About Grading Grading takes up so much of our time: – Last semester, JE spent 60+ hours grading papers. – More efficient practices means less time grading (e.g. different grading techniques cut grading time in half; Boss R., 1988). There are other people on the end of this process that care about our feedback and timeliness.
Sample Grading We are going to distribute a sample of student writing. For the next 10 minutes, we would like for you to read and comment on this paper. Assignment: In an academic paper with your instructor as reader, evaluate the psychological claim in the assigned article: --Identify and describe the psychological claim in a brief introduction --Justify your evaluation criteria --Apply the evaluation criteria to the article --Judge the claim based on your evaluation
How many of your comments look like the following?
The Reflexive Grader Why Not Grade on the Little Things? – Little Things (typos, grammar, verb/noun agreement) are tedious and hard to catch. – To actually benefit a student and change their mistakes on little issues requires a very complicated intervention called Error-Pattern Analysis – All the “rules” that we have internalized as correct and proper are not as concrete as we might think.
What is wrong with this picture? In the olde dayes of the Kyng Arthour, Of which that Britons speken greet honour, In the old days of the King Arthur, Of which Britons spoke of great honor,
Did you know! Old Middle English originally had complex verb endings for both gender (masculine, feminine, and neutral) and for number! Present SingularPresent PluralPresent SingularPresent Plural ic cysse thu cyssest he cysseth we cyssathI kiss You kiss He kiss We kiss
Other Considerations Language is fluid and evolving. Rules with language are hardly stable. – Consider conventions associated with source citation – Consider the dwindling use of the comma – Consider RECENT use of the male pronoun as universal signifier – Consider the ease with which we forgive error among the published, though not among the students
Grading For What Matters—Purposes of Assignments What is the TASK being required by the assignment—to inform, to explore, to convince, to describe, to compare, to summarize, to persuade? Find the VERB or VERBS and you’ll know the task. Review the assignment: In an academic paper with your instructor as reader, EVALUATE the psychological claim made in the article you read: --Identify and describe the psychological claim in a brief introduction --Justify your evaluation criteria --Apply the evaluation criteria to the article --Judge the claim based on your evaluation
Revise Feedback on Sample Paper—for an additional 5 min Where does the writer stay on task? Where does the writer deviate? What’s the most important advice? Where is the student doing something well? Write an end and a few marginal comments
Read Around of Comments— Comments are writing! When commenting, YOU are the writer! 1.Consider audience/purpose of comments 2.Consider space for commenting—end and margins 3.Consider presence/absence of concrete suggestions 4.Consider recognition of strengths 5.Consider tone of the comments 6.Consider whether comments are forward- looking
Basic Principles of Commenting Comments are “formative” Remember the reader at the other end of comments Remember you have END and MARGINAL space Focus on the most important advice Ask questions and offer reader-response comments vs. “diagnostic” comments on observed deficiencies Play the believing game and find a positive but don’t mislead Use a 3-part end comment Explain how weaknesses relate to one another Do a common sense check: Make sure grade and evaluation criteria are connected and accurately reflected in your comments..
Things to Remember The writing process does not end when we put a grade on the paper. While focusing on the local errors of a paper is natural, it is often less beneficial for the student and more time consuming! If you must address error, address it as pattern of error so that students learn. Your style of writing is not necessarily the student’s. Let students maintain ownership of their writing by NOT writing for them. Be maximally instructive: consider where the student is before engaging in line edits. (Capstone course and thesis advisors and may need to line edit final products; otherwise focus on higher concerns) Your service when grading is critical and INSTRUCTIVE; don’t take your eye off the ball—the central task which is educating. Becoming better commenters/graders can improve your writing!
Commenting Advice “The best kind of commentary enhances the writer’s feeling of dignity. The worst kind can be dehumanizing and insulting—often to the bewilderment of the teacher whose intentions were kindly but whose techniques ignored the personal dimension of writing.” --John Bean Recommended additional info http://writing.colostate.edu/guides/teaching/commenting/index.cfm