After all, with essay writing you cannot simply mark some answers correct and others incorrect and figure out a percentage. The good news is that grading an essay can be just as easy and straightforward as grading multiple-choice tests with the use of a rubric!
There may be a time and a place for everything. The difficulty is figuring out when and where. First, the reason I resist rubric-method of grading student writing is that it invites complaint.
Also, I find that it can be difficult to justify why one person gets one "number" on a given section and another gets another.
Grading writing IS subjective - not entirely quantifiable. Yes, I look for certain things, but there is no one recipe for an A paper, and I think a rubric can inspire students to look for that recipe rather than focusing on the quality of their ideas and claims.
I create two columns. On the left-hand side, I list between 10 and 15 things that I was looking for in the paper. This column is labeled "Aspects of the essay that worked particularly well" or something like that. Things like, "Paper responds to the assignment" or "Paper offers insights into the texts under discussion in a critical and analytical way.
Then, on the right hand side of the page, I have another column that is labeled, "Aspects of the paper that could have been stronger. In part I do this because I think it softens my more direct marginal comments.
Also, the checklist gives me the freedom not to comment on more global issues in the margins, so in the margins I can actually respond to more specific points in the essay. Now, what I do when I grade is this.
They had five topics from which to choose. First, I organize them by topic. Once I have them organized in that way, I put them in reverse order worst to best based on the opening few sentences of the paper.
In my experience, the opening few sentences really tell me all I need to know to assign a grade. Sometimes there are exceptions, but those are rare.
Then, I grade the each paper, writing marginal comments as I go. This allows the bulk of the marginal comments to respond to the content of the paper and not to overwhelm them with copy-editing type comments. It is NOT an overarching comment that deals with all of the stuff on the checklist.
Visually, this shows me pretty much what grade they should get. Invert that, and then you get a sense of the D and F range. Again, though, this is not outlined on a point system, which I would fudge anyway in order to give the grade that I thought the paper earned.
The checklist page does not include the grade. Having every paper look the same when they get it back I think makes it easier for them to deal. I put the grade either on the first or last page of their actual paper. Another reason that I like this method is that it means I tend to comment as much on the great papers as I do on the less great ones.
One thing that often happens to students who are strong writers is that they get almost no actual feedback on their writing. This is what happened to me throughout my undergraduate education. That said, it can be really time-consuming to write an end comment with all of the ways in which the essay was successful.Strong writing and academic integrity skills start here.
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Millions of students take the SAT each year as a step on their path to college. Visit our site to learn about the test, register, practice, and get your scores. About Art Sawyer. Art graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University, where he was the top-ranked liberal arts student in his class.
Art pioneered the one-on-one approach to test prep in California in and co-founded Compass Education Group in in order to bring the best ideas and tutors into students' homes and computers. Website overview: Since the Study Guides and Strategies Website has been researched, authored, maintained and supported as an international, learner-centric, educational public service.
Permission is granted to freely copy, adapt, and distribute individual Study Guides in print format in non-commercial educational settings that benefit learners. To illustrate the process, here is a sample exam question. EXAMPLE ESSAY QUESTION.
Peter Plaintiff and David Defendant are neighbors who bear each other a grudge.