Grading essays can be very time consuming. Some professors even avoid writing assignments and essays altogether. So it is important to use procedures that give students writing practice while saving time and not overburdening the teacher with notes. Try some of these scoring suggestions, keeping in mind that students’ writing skills improve with practice and using rubrics in each other’s grades.
Use Student Assessments
Distribute rubrics to students asking each to read and grade three of his peers’ essays in a specified amount of time. After grading an essay, the rubric should be discussed behind the scenes so as not to influence the next grader. If necessary, check that students have completed the required number of assessments; however, I found that the students do this willingly. Collect the essays, check in them that they are finished on time, and return them to be reviewed.
Use a letter or number based on a rubric like the one used in the Florida Writes Program. To do this, put your pen down and simply read and assign homework in graded piles. When finished with a class, check each stack to see if they are consistent in quality, then write the note at the top. This allows you to grade a large number of papers quickly. It is best used with final designs after students have used a rubric to write each other’s writing and improvement. See this guide to holistic classification .
Have students create a portfolio of choices to write about how they choose to be best qualified. An alternative approach is for the student to choose one of three consecutive assignments to qualify.
Class only a few in a series of classes – roll the die!
Use a roll of a die to match the number that the students choose so that they can choose from eight to ten essays that you will graduate in depth, checking off the others.
Classes only a few in a series of classes – Keep them guessing!
Tell the students that you are going to do an in-depth assessment of a few essays from each class and check the others. Students will not know when they will graduate.
Grades are only part of the assignment
Grade only one paragraph of each essay in depth. Don’t tell students ahead of time what paragraph it will be, though.
Class only one or two elements
Have students write at the top of their paper, “Evaluation for (element)” followed by a line for your class for that element. It is also useful to write “my estimate is _____” and fill in the grade estimates for this element.
Have Students Write in Out-of-Class Journals
Ask only that they write either for a specified amount of time, that they fill a specified amount of space, or that they write a specific number of words.
Use two highlighters
Class homework is written using only two color highlighters with one color for strength, and the other for mistakes. If a paper has many mistakes, mark only a couple that you think the student should work on first so that you do not cause the student to give up.
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