Grading essays

Discussion in 'General Education' started by otterpop, Feb 14, 2017.

  1. otterpop

    otterpop Fanatic

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    Feb 14, 2017

    I grade papers with a rubric.

    Should I still correct the papers with pen, circling misspelled words, adding punctuation, etc.? Or just circle the appropriate grades in the rubric?

    How do others do it?
     
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  3. mathmagic

    mathmagic Connoisseur

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    Feb 14, 2017

    When grading at the end, I do go through with pen to show the errors, mainly so that it's evident when looking back at the different pieces the improvement (or lack thereof) that has happened. I still mark in the rubric, and then try to identify a couple key strengths, and one or two major goals that they need to focus on...so while there's lots of marks on the paper, their focus gets brought back to a couple areas in which, if they focus and improve, it'll improve their writing the most in a small amount of time.

    Outside of a final grade though, I never go through and mark specific errors: I always talk about areas they need to work on in general, identifying one or two spots that I can highlight in their writing that shows that and how I would make the change. That way, they're having to identify and fix the errors instead of just doing it mindlessly.
     
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  4. Obadiah

    Obadiah Cohort

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    Feb 14, 2017

    I like how rubrics give an overall picture of the essay. I also highlight errors, but I don't always do this the same way. My main goal is for the student to correct the essay. More and more, I've become concerned about grades becoming the final product. For that reason, I never use red ink when grading; red means "stop". I use blue or green. In elementary school, I sometimes write a note to the student about the essay, and use one or more of the misspelled words in the note; the original research on this suggested not highlighting the errors, but current research indicates that it's better to highlight, so I use a different color of ink for my respellings.
     
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  5. MetalTeacher

    MetalTeacher Companion

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    Feb 14, 2017

    A lot of my professors do this, and we've been told to do it in my education courses as well:
    We should write comments throughout the essay regarding a students' strengths and weaknesses and write a more detailed write-up about what they did well and what needs work on the last page, and then, UNDER that, we put the grade. (The assumption being that if the student sees a grade on the front, they'll stop there and won't look at the rest to see what they did well or what needs to improve.)
     
  6. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Groupie

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    Grading writing is always so sticky because it seems so arbitrary. What are you actually grading them on beyond typical grammar? How do you assess if a student has truly mastered narrative, expository or persuasive/ argument writing? I HATED grading my students' writing for that reason. It always felt so subjective and I could over think it for hours. What is "good" writing and how do we determine if students have met that bar? If not, shouldn't we provide the opportunity to? Should students be graded if their writing gets better from the rough to the final draft? Multiple choice or short response where we're looking for a specific answer is so much easier to grade than writing. I'm taking a "teaching writing " class now in grad school and I'm hoping it'll shed light on these issues.
     
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  7. viola_x_wittrockiana

    viola_x_wittrockiana Companion

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    Feb 14, 2017

    I had one teacher in HS, the self-proclaimed heretic of the English dept., who would return papers with the number of errors in different categories and have students earn back points by finding and correcting the errors. She found that doing it that way decreased the frequent-flyer errors because the students, over time, become accustomed to noticing mistakes in their own writing.
     
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  8. otterpop

    otterpop Fanatic

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    Thanks for all of the ideas.

    Ideally, I'd like to write written comments on them all, but time is short.

    Highlighting is an interesting idea. I might give that a try. My students are upper elementary, so their papers aren't perfect - it's hard to know whether I should mark everything or just focus on specific areas. I teach them to edit, and have them partner edit, too. Still, though, they don't find all of the mistakes, especially spelling errors.
     
  9. mathmagic

    mathmagic Connoisseur

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    When you look them over, do you tend to see common kinds of errors (perhaps different for each kid, but still a common theme for each one in particular)? If so, why not just provide that as the main comment, and pull small groups to work on that skill, or provide it as a mini-lesson in the next go-around if it's a class struggle? For example, a bunch of my kiddos still struggle with run-ons, so that's an area I'll put extra focus on here soon.

    The written comments I do are short: literally a phrase or two. I figure that they'll be more attentive to a conference where I discuss it with them - and learn more - than anything I'd write or mark, anyways :p

    For spelling errors - I challenge mine to underline all words they're not 100%/99% sure of, and make sure to look it up (unless typing, and then make sure Word provides the right word they're looking for). You could also add common errors to a spelling list for them.

    Disclaimer: Writing is the area in which I feel I still need to work a bunch on! :)
     
  10. Secondary Teach

    Secondary Teach Companion

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    Feb 16, 2017

    My English adjunct would do this. I remember receiving my first graded paper back from him, and I just saw all of that red ink writing throughout the paper. Suffice to say I was admittedly frightened to read his comments, but they were supportive and positive comments regarding my writing abilities and positive praise on what I was doing right such as using figurative language etc.
    :)
     
  11. Teacher0909

    Teacher0909 Rookie

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    Mar 12, 2017

    I teach high school students and use a method similar to one someone else posted. I use a basic rubric and grade for things like mechanics, content, and technique. I also devise my own quick form that I use for grammar. I consider any grammar rules that I've taught or feel they should know and create a grading sheet. The students know ahead of time what grammar errors I'm checking for. As I'm grading the essay, I put an X indicating I found that specific grammatical error. I will NOT mark the error on the essay. Beside that entry on the grading sheet, I also write in the number of errors I found. Sometimes, depending on the number of student errors, I'll spend a little time reviewing the rules with them or allow them to study their notes. It just depends, and this varies from class to class. Then I give the students their papers back, and they make the necessary corrections. I use to hate grading essays because I would physically correct everything. I thought I needed to so they could see their mistakes. I thought that was the only way they would learn. Wrong! They learn by doing. I realized that I I already knew things like how to use a semicolon. So why was I doing it for the student? It made no sense. The student did not benefit any from me doing for him nor did he even pay attention to it. He simply looked at the final grade. He was either satisfied with it and said nothing or he wasn't and complained about it. High school students, and even middle school students, have to be taught to make these corrections themselves. We help them by teaching them to help themselves. In the process, it allows you to focus on the content and technique, and it reinforces the students' learning. Now I no longer hate grading essays! I actually look forward to finding out the interesting thoughts of my students without having to physically correct 120, two page papers!
     
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  12. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Mar 13, 2017

    I've done it a few different ways, but I only teach science so I'm primarily concerned with the content and not the mechanics. I've done a rubric like you do, but sometimes I find even that takes too much time, so for a while I switched to a letter grade (or a 1-4 scale grade) and 1 comment per paper written at the top.

    They can revise it for a better grade if they mark all of their corrections in a different colored ink addressing my comment, and attach it to their new draft.

    If you can get students to peer review or self-correct/review for the mechanics that's even better.
     
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