Strategies for Keeping Grading Manageable

The time and effort required to keep up with grading can be daunting, particularly when teaching larger courses, or medium-size courses that rely on longer-form assessments like essays. However, there are several approaches faculty can take to structure their assessments that can help to alleviate some of these pressures. Please consider the following strategies for keeping your grading workload manageable:

Limit the Duration of Assessments

Remember: More is not necessarily better. Depending on your content, there may be a benefit to selecting a more representative sampling of items or tasks, as opposed to more comprehensive, cumulative assessments, which can become unduly time-consuming to grade.

Consider Alternatively Structured Assessments

Alternative assessment structures (e.g., student-generated prompts and test items, or tiered or two-stage exams) can not only reduce grading time, they can also position assessments as opportunities for further learning. More specifically, depending on the way in which they are structured, assignments can help students learn by incorporating opportunities for students to investigate what they don’t already know, extend learning by applying what they know in creative ways, or check/reinforce their understanding with collaborators

Incorporate Peer- and Self-Assessments

Depending on the task to be assessed and on several class characteristics (course level, class maturity, practice with the peer-assessment structures/processes, etc.), peer- and self-assessment strategies can significantly help with an overly demanding grading workload. With a well-structured introduction and minimal practice for providing, documenting, and receiving feedback, peer- and self-assessment strategies can reinforce student learning and greatly reduce a grading workload.

Leverage Educational Technology

There are numerous platforms to enhance, support, and streamline your assessment efforts. Technologies like Gradescope like FeedbackFruits are designed to help faculty facilitate and streamline the provision of feedback on various types of assessments.

Regardless of the strategies you employ, communicating your assessment plan—with a clear rationale and a reiteration of your commitment to students’ success—remains paramount.

Please contact us with any questions or to schedule a consultation to discuss your assessment plan.