Monday, November 30, 2015

Marking Student Papers: A Method

Now that most of  us are deep into grading, I want to share my method. I think too many professors spend too much time marking up every shortcoming in every student paper. There's a limit on how much a student can absorb. Mark up too much and you're wasting your precious time.  Limit your comments in light of the limits of a student's ability and willingness to learn from your efforts. My method:

Read the students document. You will come across unfortunate words, phrases, and ideas that simply jump out at you. Comment on them. They should be limited in number.

Next, think about what you have read and identify the three big take-away messages that you want your student to get. I doubt that a student can absorb more than three. Write maybe a paragraph on each.

When you encounter truly disappointing papers, make an appointment with the student.

If after a student receives a grade and wants more feedback, oblige the student. Not many students will fall into this category.

That's it.


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Good, concise advice for grading student papers on all levels of Education. I agree that most students cannot and perhaps will not, take to heart more than three big suggestions for improvement. With many professors spending exorbitant hours evaluating academic papers, this advice may help to at least decrease the amount of precious time devoted to writing assignments.

Posted by: Emil A. Ricci | Dec 3, 2015 3:49:07 AM

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