Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Composition Grading Shortcuts

One of the biggest time consuming tasks of teaching composition is the grading that's involved. This is particularly true with 108.02, because of the length of the assignments and especially when teaching two full sections of the course in one quarter. Consequently, I've been on the lookout for grading shortcuts, and up to this point in the quarter, I've found a few.
  • One of them is to have students submit all final drafts of their papers as e-copies in doc form. This keeps all homework submission in the same place, your e-mail box.
  • Another shortcut is the use of the track changes tool in Word. Because the final drafts are e-copies in doc form, it is then possible to use the track changes tool to respond to the drafts. This saves time by being able to copy and paste comments from one paper to the next, because a lot of the time, similar writing issues are seen across the board.
  • Another shortcut is to change the e-mail signature to something like - Hello, Attached is your paper with the grade and my comments. See you tomorrow. This makes the message personal without the teacher having to type same message over and over.
  • I've also found it useful to use a good student final draft in the class discussion, and then use what was said as the comments on his/her paper.
  • Setting a time limit is another way that can help reduce the time spent grading papers. It's easy to let time slip away while grading, but if you set a time and hold yourself to it, this can keep the grading under control.
  • Also, when there are many papers to grade, spread the grading out over a couple days as opposed to doing a marathon grading session. I've found the more tired I am, the more time it takes to grade, so I set grading time goals and try to stay within these parameters. This makes the grading time more productive.
  • An effective way of handling late submissions is to tell students who submit after the given deadline that their papers won't be returned until the end of the quarter. In the past I've found that time is often wasted in grading late papers throughout the quarter. This quarter I've designated a day and time at the end of the quarter for late submissions. I've observed that students who know their late submission won't be returned until the end of the quarter make it a point to get other assignments in on time.
  • Another shortcut I found this quarter comes from my experience as a writing lab tutor. Instead of reading students first drafts on my own prior to the writing tutorial, I ask students to bring 2 hard copies of their paper and together at the tutorial we read through the draft, discuss it and make changes on the draft together. I found this to be more beneficial in understanding what the writer is trying to say, gives the students an opportunity to display their knowledge of their topics, helps those students whose learning style is aural and causes the writing to becomes a collaborative process, where students have more ownership in what their doing.

58 comments:

Brian Gardunia said...

great ideas. Grading can take forever and makes it difficult to do research or study for ones own classes. I will try to implement some of these when i TA again.

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