Dec 06
Death, Taxes and Marking

It's been said that the only constant in life is death and taxes. As Instructors, we might add marking to the list!

Carolyn Schmidt - Color.jpgWith many Instructors facing end of term marking, today we wanted to share an innovation from RRC Instructor Carolyn Schmidt that might help. Carolyn teaches Professional Development in Applied Computer Education.

With larger class sizes and many international students, she was struggling with the time required to mark a particular assignment that required students to demonstrate strong writing and formatting skills. Students were expected to submit a draft (worth 50% of the assessment), and then a final version based on her feedback (worth 50% of the assessment).

To improve the process, here is her three-step technique:

  1. Speed Review. In one class, she spent a minute or two with each student looking only at the format of their draft document, and suggested immediate revisions. This ensured students had a good foundation to work from even before submitting the draft.
  2. Peer Review. For this step, she created a specific marking guide and detailed checklist for what students were to review in their classmates' draft. Each student had to review the work of at least two other students. The first pairing was selected by Carolyn so she could match stronger writers with weaker writers. For the second pairing, students could choose someone they know and trust. As students used the tools to suggest improvements for the classmates, they were also discovering things to revise about their own drafts.  
  3. Instructor Feedback Meetings. This is where Carolyn provided individual feedback to small groups of students on their drafts. She then asked the groups to help each other implement the revisions.

Carolyn has noted many benefits of this multi-step process that uses more formative assessment: “The final versions are so much stronger. While it has taken some of the pressure off me to do it all, students are learning other meaningful skills like how to give, receive and use feedback. The multi-step process is focused not on a grade, but on mastery of the skill."


How do you work smarter, not harder when it comes to grading student work? Click the sign in button on the top right, enter your RRC credentials and join the conversation!


Formative assessment can be...

Formative assessment can be so powerful for students in their learning. Even if/when it takes time from 'teaching', it always contributes to the 'learning' side of the equation, I believe. Way to go, Carolyn!
Picture Placeholder: Amanda  Le Rougetel
  • Amanda Le Rougetel
 on 12/6/2019 10:21 AM

Great ideas, Carolyn! These...

Great ideas, Carolyn! These little process improvements can make a big difference in instructor workloads and the quality of student work.
Picture Placeholder: Gail Horvath
  • Gail Horvath
 on 12/6/2019 12:17 PM