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Thursday, September 1, 2011

My Grading System

Students turn in their papers by email by 11;59 p.m. of the due date. The title of their document is studentlastnamecomp2.doc. If the student forgets this format I change the doc title after I download it. The next morning, I create a folder and place every attachment in the folder, so the papers are in alphabetical order by student last name. I open a document and set it to "track changes." I grade each one on the computer screen, writing corrections and comments, and a final comment with the grade. I send back the attachments to the students by going to "file," "share," then "share as attachment." That way I never send a message without its attachment.

The advantages of this system: I never print anything. Students never print anything. I never have to struggle with my own handwriting. Students never struggle with my handwriting. I never lose a paper. Students never come late to class because they are still printing the paper due that day. I never struggle with a paper printed with an exhausted toner cartridge. Students get their papers back even if they are absent on the day papers are returned. I have an electronic record of the grades on each paper. The turn-over on papers is faster and more efficient. I never spill coffee on a student paper. Students can revise their papers by accepting my changes and going from there. I have an electronic copy of each paper, so I can track student progress over the course of the semester. For example, I can see if a student is making the same mistakes in every paper.

I do think it's valuable to print things out and read them, but I have a shocking confession. I have written articles that I have never printed out even once. The entire process has been electronic. Probably very few will ever read these articles on real paper either.


Anonymous said...

you've described my grading process to the very last detail. the only difference is that i've set up an email account exclusively for grading.

additional advantages to this approach:

1. i have copies of student papers and grades forever (in the even of either good or bad circumstances)

2. my comments are much less rushed, and thus i find myself having more positive things to say, such as "do more of this..." rather than simply trying to find out what's wrong with a paper and then move on as quickly as possible.

Jonathan said...

I could have a dedicated account for this, but I find it easy enough to use my main one.

I also find myself writing more simply because I can type better than I write and am not limited by margin space.