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Brightspace Tip #382: Escaping Grading Jail

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In a recent Chronicle of Higher Education article, Kevin Gannon wrote about what he describes as grading jail. He found that he would enter his grading jail around the 13th week of the term. After a career of repeat offenses against efficient and timely grading of student work, he saw that he could only blame himself. He described himself as a hopeless recidivist.

The hard time he served was enough to rehabilitate him, and turn him into a productive member of the grading society. He shared what he learned, hoping to save others from the same fate. He acknowledges that providing students with prompt feedback is a better practice. But too often this does not happen.

Kevin’s three strategies to better manage grading workflow are:

Pre-semester calendaring. Before classes start lay out a calendar for every month of the term. Then using different colors for each course, plot out the due dates for every assignment that you will give throughout the term. A cluster of different colors in a three-day span is a quick visual cue that you should reconsider some due dates.
Rubrics — done well — are your friend. A well-constructed rubric involves a significant investment of time on the front end, but once designed, using it to assess student work will cut grading time. The time saved allows you to concentrate on providing more meaningful individual feedback. Having specific criteria and clearly defined benchmarks provides consistency in grading.
Speech-to-text and voice comments. Using speech-to-text to transcribe comments in real time is one way to provide substantial feedback on a large amount of student work without getting writer's cramp. However, it is even more meaningful to record comments and then share them with individual students via an audio file they can listen to on any device.

Kevin says these three strategies are the academic equivalent of your “get out of jail free” card.

get out of jail free card

If this has piqued your interest, you can read more in Kevin's “How to Escape Grading Jail” article.

Want more information?

Brightspace Tip #346: Simplify Grading and Giving Feedback
Brightspace Tip #329: Simplify Assignment Collection
Brightspace Tip #349: Assignments
Brightspace Tip #204: Interactive Rubrics
Formative Assessments and Fitness Bands
Dictate Your Documents in Word
How To Speech-to-Text in Google Docs
Tip: Audio Notes in Brightspace
Brightspace Tip #299: Video Notes
Brightspace Tip #320: Video Notes – Closed Captions

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Image Credits:
Image by patrick489 from Pixabay
"Get_Out_of_Jail_Free_Card" by Mark Strozier is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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