A Simple Way to Grade Writing Quickly If you&ve ever taught writing, you know how long grading essays and research papers and stories can take. But does it really have to take an eternity to get through that stack of writing? I don&t think so. When I taught English, I knew I had to come up with an efficient way of grading writing.dollar-essay So I started brainstorming how I could grade fairly and accurately without taking forever. And I found two big things that, in my opinion, waste a lot of time. Grading Time-Wasters Writing a bunch of comments. Now don&t get me wrong. Students need feedback. They need to know how they can improve, and they need to know why they got that grade on their paper. But writing a bunch of individual comments takes so long and can be especially inefficient when you&re writing the same comment over and over again on almost everybody&s paper. Doing the math on a rubric. I know many people love rubrics, but I have to say, I am not a fan. It doesn&t take long to develop a sense of what an A, B, C, D, and F paper look like, so trying to fill in a rubric ends up being a study in how can I make these numbers add up to the grade I want to give? (Or at least it does for me.) And that equals lots of wasted time. I needed a better system a system that would be fair and accurate and that would give students lots of feedback without my having to write everything down.
So I came up with (drum roll please) a checklist system. Here&s how it works: A Simple Way to Grade Writing Quickly Create a checklist of everything you are grading. This could be somewhat similar to a rubric, but you&re not going to include any point values. Simply write a list of everything that you want your students to do in the paper. Include sections for content, writing style, mechanics, formatting, etc. Give the students the checklist as part of the rewriting stage. This is optional, but I&d definitely recommend giving the students a copy of the checklist ahead of time. Not only will this help them rewrite their paper, but it also ensures that you are crystal clear on exactly what you expect and exactly what you&ll be looking for when you grade their writing. Create a simple key. On the checklist/grading form, create a simple key. For example, the top of my grading forms say,Areas circled below are areas that need improvements. Check marks or smiley faces indicate areas that were well done. Use the key to indicate what areas were done well and which need improvement. When it comes time to grade the paper, all you have to do is go through the checklist and put checks (or smileys) by anything that was done well and circle areas that were done poorly. Areas that were okay but not impressive can have nothing marked on them. This ensures that the student has a lot of feedback without your having to write out a bunch of comments.
Give a holistic grade or use the number ofneed improvement items to assign a grade. It didn&t take me long before I could read a paper and know intuitively what grade to give. If you&re like me, then just go with your gut. All of theneed improvement areas you circled will be enough to justify the grade. If you aren&t sure what grade to give, develop some type of easy system in your head. For example, eachneeds improvement in content is 5 points off; each in format is 1 point. Do the math and put the grade on the paper. This still ends up saving time because you don&t have to write down all of the numbers or double-check that it is exactly correct or anything like that. I love this system because it gives lots of encouragement (remember all the smileys) and plenty of constructive feedback without your having to write down a million notes. And I can&t remember a student ever arguing with me about their grade. I&d call that a win-win. Want to see an example of my grading sheet checklist? I include one in my absolutely FREE Compare/Contrast Writing Unit. Click here to download your free writing unit, which includes an example grading sheet. (This is a total steal. It’s a full, complete unit that I’m giving away for free because I think you’ll love it will want to get the whole bundle!) What system do you use to grade writing? What do you find works well and helps you save time? Start Achieving BALANCE. Start Your Journey to actually Sense of balance.