I’m neck deep in syllabi. When my students return on August 13, they’ll get the shiny, new syllabus I updated just for their class.
(Re-)designing any course (for me, anyhow) is usually about answering “how am I going to grade this?” I refactored all of my syllabi to reflect improvements, especially in grading. Here are my top 5 ideas for making grading easier:
- Use rubrics. Projects are so much easier to grade when all the objectives are laid out and assigned point values in advance.
- Grade homework on a complete/not-complete basis instead of percent correct. If you do this, though, provide a solution sheet or solve the problems in class.
- Allow for late homework to be turned in, but only until the chapter test. Before this policy, I was grading chapter 1 homework during finals week because of an overly generous policy.
- Drop the “Participation” grade because it’s too subjective. Grade on concrete objectives such as folder checks or “prepared for class”. If the student isn’t participating, it should show up there anyhow.
- Deal with that stack of grading by prioritizing — start with homework before touching any tests. A few homework assignments from several classes is a whole lot of papers (not to mention outstanding grades) that you should knock out of the way.
What are your top 5?
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This sounds great. I really like that assessment comes first. I know it is the thing I would like to avoid and the thing that I feel the worst about when I avoid it. I hate that feeling of coming to the end of a project and knowing that I am not measuring what I really wanted the students to learn all because of my poor planning.
Rubrics. I love ’em.
Ever since I discovered rubrics and started using them, the quality of my own teaching has gone up- simply because by delineating whats poor, ok and good, I’m forcing myself to provide more clarity on what the learning objectives should be.
That usually makes for giving-me-a-rush teaching!
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