Happy Monday!  Chances are, you have some grading to do :-).  For this week’s edition of Magna Mondays, we chose the 20-Minute Mentor “How Can I Grade in Less Time with Greater Impact?” presented by Dr. Amy Mulnix.  We highly recommend watching the full video in 20-Minute Mentor Commons in the Chapman University Magna Campus.

In this presentation, Dr. Mulnix shares three strategies for making your grading more efficient and impactful:

1.  Understand the purpose of your grading and spend time on high-value grading tasks

Dr. Mulnix recommends focusing your time and energy on the following two types of grading tasks, which have the greatest impact on student learning:

  • Providing feedback that will help students improve their performance
  • Evaluating students to help them understand their strengths and opportunities for growth

2.  Control and prioritize your commenting

When you are commenting on a student’s work, Dr. Mulnix recommends figuring out what is causing the student the most difficulty and providing targeted feedback to help the student improve in that area rather than commenting on all of the student’s mistakes.  If you help the student master the thing that they are struggling with, some of the more minor issues might resolve themselves.  For example, imagine that a student has had trouble articulating a thesis statement, which has caused several other issues with their paper.  It is more efficient and impactful to leave one comment that will help the student master the thesis statement rather than commenting on all of the student’s punctuation and grammar errors throughout the paper.

3.  Move some of your grading into class time

Dr. Mulnix recommends creating opportunities for peer-to-peer feedback and instructor-class feedback during class time.  For example, imagine that you notice that the majority of your students are having difficulty with essay questions on assessments.  Dr. Mulnix noticed this about her students, so she created a set of mock essay question responses that had various weaknesses and asked her students to grade the mock responses individually at first, then in groups.  Each group had to agree on the grade to give each response, which fueled discussion and debate among students.  After this activity, Dr. Mulnix presented a sample “A” essay question response to the full class and pointed out the characteristics that made it a strong response.  Taking the time to do activities like this in class can promote metacognition and save you time grading in the long run.

Additional resources

Wishing you a wonderful week, and happy grading!