CIPs Teaching Tips – Fall 2012 #11 “Don’t be a turkey and try to stuff too much in…to your grading.”

Finals are almost here – there are only two more weeks of classes after Thanksgiving. Many instructors don’t have to wait for finals to become buried under grading; they’re there already. At this point in the semester it’s probably too late to cut back on the number of assignments but there are some things that have the potential to affect your grading experience in a positive manner. Here are a few. (If you have a tip to add, please post it in the comment section below.)

Grading Tips & Suggestions:

  • Don’t correct all the grammar, mechanical, and other writing errors; instead correct a few and then write a comment about what students need to improve such as, “Watch for small mechanical writing errors that can confuse the reader and make your meaning unclear.”  This takes far less time than circling all their errors and writing in corrections.
  • Do the same thing for comprehension aspects of writing. Commenting, “You need transition here to introduce the reader to this new idea” instead of writing multiple sentences about how the student should transition is actually more beneficial to learning, especially if you suggest that students take their papers to the Writing Center and get help based on the comments that you’ve written. They could ask the tutors there how they might transition better or even why what they have written doesn’t work.
  • Choose a certain number of criteria by which the assignment will be graded and grade those and only those criteria. It’s really easy to go beyond the scope you’ve set, but don’t; not if you don’t have time.
  • Group your assignments that are ready to be graded into piles of 3, 4, or 5. The feeling of completion is very different when you notice that you’ve done 4 out of 5 as opposed to 4 out of 25.
  • Figure out what you need to stay focused even if it’s taking a break. You might want to reward yourself in some way after each pile or particular number of assignments is graded.
  • Make sure intake and outtake are happening in a healthy way while you grade. Don’t hold your breath (watch yourself, many of us do this while we grade) or anything else in for too long as you are grading and be sure to get enough fluids and proteins. All getting aside.
  • Time of day can really matter – a night person who tries to grade in the morning will take way longer to finish. Follow your natural tendencies as much as time will allow.
  • Remember who your students are; remind yourself that grading is another opportunity to teach your students; it much more than just work for us to get done. If you’ve taken a photo of your class, now might be a good time to look at it. Your students are the reason you want to do your grading well.
  • When all else fails, walk outside and get some perspective.

Here’s hoping grading doesn’t throw you a curve (ouch),


Cinse Bonino, Director

Located on the second floor of the Miller Information Commons (the library) across from the printer – MIC 205

 Contact Director Cinse Bonino for a one-on-one CIP instructional design session:

Email: or Phone: 802 651 5965 Skype: cinse.cip


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s