This will be a relatively quick post because it's late, I'm sick, and it's testing week. Blah.
One of the most brilliant things I ever saw for grading assignments came from one of my mentors, Nell Duke, at Michigan State. What she did was outline 3-5 different objectives that you needed to accomplish in an assignment, and she would phrase them as a question, "Did you...?". When it was time for her to grade the assignment, she'd answer the question with either a "yes," "no," or "sort of." If the answer was "yes," you'd get 2 points. A "sort of" was worth 1 point, and a "no" was worth 0 points.
Grading using this system is amazingly easy once you know what criteria you're going to use, and it helps students know exactly what is expected of them for the assignment.
Here's a free example of a "Yes, No, Sort of" checklist that I used with my students when they were writing book reviews of fiction books on KidBlog.
I know it's not glamorous, but it's free. :) You can access it by clicking on the image above or clicking here.
In this example, I wanted it to add up to 35 points possible, so I weighted one category higher than the others. In some cases, there wasn't an opportunity to get a "sort of" -- either you turned it in on time, or you didn't, for example. So those were all or nothing point-wise.
We've moved to a different grading system this year, but I still like this way of communicating expectations and assessing student work fairly quickly.
Are there any tools you use in the classroom to make your grading more efficient? Feel free to share your strategies in the comment section below!
Until next time,