grading essay tests -- tips and tricks

Discussion in 'General Education' started by sonflawah, Nov 7, 2011.

  1. sonflawah

    sonflawah Companion

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    Nov 7, 2011

    I have a stack of essay tests to grade, and I want to be as fair and consistent as possible. Previously, it seemed as if I was harder on the first few I graded and not as hard on the last few. What tips or tricks are there to grading essay tests while being as objective as possible.
     
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  3. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Nov 7, 2011

    Grade one question at a time on all tests (i.e. all number 1s, then all number 2s)
    Don't look at names!
    Create a checklist of what you are looking for in each response and refer to it after every couple of papers.
     
  4. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Nov 7, 2011

    Make a rubric and use it as you grade.
     
  5. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    This is so important!! Creating a rubric for subjective assignments like essays will make your grading life so much easier. My rubrics are basically the same for grading history essays with 4 target areas - historical information, analysis or connecting the dots, answers the prompt, and simple six targets (we are required to use these for all essays - I use it as one area with the points based on a percentage of the grade, ie if the essay is worth 100 points 40 pts each for info and analysis, 10 each for answers prompt and simple six). I use this rubric for all essay. I then drill down the historical facts, and analysis I am looking for and list them on my rubric.
     
  6. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    Nov 7, 2011

    Use a rubric and make a checklist of all the information and analysis that you are looking for. Place a checkmark next to the items within the students essay. If they are missing something record it in the margins.
     
  7. teachin4ever

    teachin4ever Cohort

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    I agree with the poster who said to grade all the number ones, then number twos, etc. I started doing that last year and found that I was MUCH more fair and consistent in my grading. It also allowed me to see trends in answers so I could address them as we went over the tests if need be.
     
  8. stampin'teacher

    stampin'teacher Cohort

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    Yes! I struggled going back and forth between questions, because I would forget what I'm looking for. Usually I write down key points or topics that I am hoping the student hits in their writing. For 7th grade, I'm sure you'd have to delve deeper than that.

    Like Teachin said, this strategy is effective because you can see trends in answers easily, and you are focused on one topic rather than moving back and forth. I also feel this way, you don't pay as much attention to whose paper you're grading, because you are constantly shifting between students.
     
  9. bondo

    bondo Cohort

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    For each essay I have a list of several points they must hit on, and then 1-2 other valid points they come up with. The style of writing, grammar, etc. is a simple 1-5.
    Get your system down and stick to it. After a little while you will get much quicker.
     
  10. heavens54

    heavens54 Connoisseur

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    Nov 8, 2011

    Is there a simple method for making your own rubrics?
     
  11. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I also find that I'm more likely to be consistent if I don't let myself be interrupted. For example, I'll mark all question #1s, then throw in a load of laundry, all #2s, then run to the grocery store.

    I use http://rubistar.4teachers.org/ to create many of my rubrics.
     
  12. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    I have one rubric that works for all essays. The only thing I have to do is make the list of historical info I expect to see which takes about three minutes for me to complete. My current rubric took me about five minutes to create:

    Historical Info 0 - 40 pts
    Anaylsis - connecting the dots -0 - 40 pts
    answer prompt 0 -10 pts
    simple six 0 -10

    I put this info into a chart which has space for my comments. Easy, I promise ;)
     
  13. sonflawah

    sonflawah Companion

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    Nov 8, 2011

    I'm in the process of creating a rubric right now. I didn't see rubistar.com before I was almost finished with the rubric, so perhaps next time I'll look into that. This should be a lot easier and go smoother than last time. For example, I noticed one student received a B and another student who did better received a C-, obviously not fair, and I was stuck trying to defend these grades to the students. I ended up raising the C- to a B+. Then I wondered how many other students received unfair grades and just didn't approach me about it. Now with a rubric, and by following all the great advice I have received here, hopefully that won't happen this time! Thank you!! :)
     
  14. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    Nov 8, 2011

    also no matter what subject you teach, your state should have a writing rubric.
     
  15. AnonyMS

    AnonyMS SpEd Para! BASE room aide! RTI Facilitator!

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    Nov 8, 2011

    So... Rubric question (sorry to potentially hijack thread)... do you print out a rubric for each student's paper? So now you have the student paper AND the rubric to pass back?

    Is your rubric the size of an 8.5" x 11" paper? Or half that size (or smaller)? If smaller, do you staple the rubric onto the paper?

    Maybe I should start a thread on this...
     
  16. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I usually take the exact same rubric I posted on the original assignment and print 4 to a page. (Most of the time you can chose "multiple pages per sheet" or something like that in the print settings, so it'll just print 4 copies on a single sheet of paper.) I mark the rubric as I grade each paper, then I staple the rubric to the student's work.
     
  17. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    Nov 9, 2011

    I do this as well - four to a sheet. And I also raid the rycling bins for paper that I can use that does contain anything students shouldn't see, and I raid the copy room for all those copies that on one ever seems to pick up :)
     
  18. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Same! I have a special basket where I keep one-sided papers that don't contain any confidential information. I end up saving lots of handouts and flyers from the main office once I no longer need them. (Usually they're in all sorts of bright colors, lol.) I often use those papers in my printer whenever I'm doing something that doesn't require absolutely pristine paper. It saves a TON of paper, so I feel good about going green. And really, who cares whether there's a science proficiency camp notice from two months ago on the back of their worksheet or rubric? Honestly, no one cares. It works for me.
     
  19. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Nov 12, 2011

    definitely make a rubric!

    When I make them, I have a list of the key points that must be included in each answer. If I wanted students to compare Jack and Jill's journey up the hill I would have a rubric that looked something like this:

    both up the hill
    both fetch pail of water
    Jack fell down
    jack broke his crown
    Jill tumbled later

    The key points, since I'm not an English teacher, would account for most of the grade. I'd probably say each key point was worth 20 points.

    Spelling and grammar would be worth 5 points each. Five mistakes would lose you five points for spelling but max out at that point. Again, I'm not an English teacher.

    Ten points would be awarded for meeting a specific length if it was designated. Half the length would get 5 points instead of ten.

    All of this can be changed all around depending on the question. Key points might end up being worth less because there are more of them.

    It isn't a perfect system. TEchnically a student could get an 80 in the above example by just listing the points like I did.

    Unfortunately, I always have to ammend my rubrics as I'm grading because something comes up that I did not anticipate.
     

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