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Advice for Graders ... from Graders

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Graduate students graders in the Department of Statistics were interviewed to help compile these guidelines for performing your work as a grader.

“Take this job seriously or you can expect problems!” - a graduate student grader

General Principles about Feedback

  • All Assignments Need Feedback - even students whose assignments have been completed on time, neatly prepared and accurate throughout should recieve confirmation of work well done.
  • Be as Clear as Possible - Students that have made errors need to understand where they went wrong and what the correct answer involves.
  • Be as Specific as Possible - Students that have made errors need to receive a clear explanation of how many points were deducted for which errors as they apply to the entire assignment.

 

Working with your instructor

  • Communication with the instructor is paramount! Meet with instructor early in the semester and clarify exactly what they want.
  • cc: the instructor in all emails to students.
  • Work with the instructor to publish in the syllabus what the grader does and what the instructor does.
  • Work with the instructor to help define and publish the rules for submission and be consistent throughout the semester.
  • Be patient with instructors just as instructors should be patient with graders!
  • Share any discrepancies in solutions or aberrant student behaviors you come across with the instructor.

 

Grading

  • Don't delay getting assignments graded. Don't procrastinate!  Earlier is always better than later as far as getting work returned! Timely feedback is important to learning and eliminates having to answer questions about when assignments will be returned. Help get students will get into a weekly cycle so that they know when assignments will be returned, usually the same time each week.
  • Review the course material in advance and anticipate student questions.
  • Establish fair rules or a rubric for assigning points, then stick to the rules.
  • Be as explicit as possible with solutions.  Be familiar with how to use LaTeX.  This is very helpful for creating solutions.
  • Use comments to breakdown the problems to show where students made mistakes.
  • Try grading assignments one question at a time, rather than each assignment in its entirety. This makes it easier to see trends of common mistakes students are making.
  • Provide a summary of the common mistakes students are making to the instructor, if appropriate.
  • Assignment dropboxes in ANGEL should be linked to the ANGEL gradebook. (see Glenn if you need help)
  • Back up your ANGEL grades in a local spreadsheet.

 

Working with students

  • When working with students find ways to connect or relate to them - relax!
  • Check the ‘send mail’ check box when grading is saved in the ANGEL dropbox.  This will let students know their grade is posted.


Grading Workflow

Determine which workflow is most appropriate for the assignments your are grading and the learning needs of the students. Check to make sure this work flow is what your instructor expects from you. Note: This may change depending on the assignment.

Workflow 1 - Resident Courses
  • Review Solutions file if one is available.
  • Obtain the assignments from the instructor, (often assignments are left in your mailbox).
  • Add feedback, comments or point deductions by hand on the assignment document.
  • Go to 'Enter Grades by Assignment' in ANGEL for the assignment to be graded and enter 'Points'.
  • Be sure to click 'Save Changes' at the bottom of the page.
  • Send a note to the instructor that summarizes student efforts on the assignment.
  • Return graded assignments to the instructor, (often the graded assignments can be left if the instructor's mailbox).
  • Use ANGEL to send a note to the students (cc: instructor) that the homework grades are posted.
Workflow 2 - Online Courses - Adding Feedback to Each Student's Submission
  • Review Solutions file if one is available.
  • Download all submissions and open in Word, Acrobat or print out. 
  • Add feedback, comments or point deductions using track changes or by hand on the assignment document.
  • Save or scan your graded versions. 
  • Upload as attachments to individual student dropbox submissions. 
  • Input grade into 'Grade' slot, add 'Remarks' as needed.
  • Send a note to the instructor that summarizes student efforts on the assignment.
  • Use ANGEL to send a note to the students (cc: instructor) that the homework grades are posted.
Workflow 3 - Online Courses - Adding Feedback to Comments Area Only
  • Review Solutions file.
  • Download all submissions and open in Word, Acrobat or print out.
  • Review homework assignments, making note of feedback, comments or point deductions for each student.
  • Go to 'Enter Grades by Assignment' in ANGEL for the assignment to be graded.
  • Enter 'Points' and then any feedback, comments or point deductions for each question in the 'Comments' area as needed that refer to the Solutions file.
  • Be sure to click 'Save Changes' at the bottom of the page.
  • Send a note to the instructor that summarizes student efforts on the assignment.
  • Use ANGEL to send a note to the students (cc: instructor) that the homework grades are posted.

Note: This works well for students that have done well or have few mistakes.  For those students that are lost or have not performed well, use the Workflow 2 above to give the student more extensive or specific feedback.


If you have any questions about how to accomplish what you need to do in ANGEL as part of you responsibilities as grader, please do not hesitate to contact Glenn Johnson, gfj100@psu.edu