Tag Archives: grading

Excel for reducing the pain of grading

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Submitted by Polina Beloborodova

Have you ever had over 500 submissions to grade in one week? If you have, you would understand my desire to optimize the process as much as possible. In this post I will share several MS Excel tools that I’m using for fast grading.

1. Grades calculator for tests

In one of my courses we have periodical tests with a combination of multiple choice and open questions. I do all the grading in Excel and then upload the file with the resulting grades to Bb. The process may look complicated, especially if you don’t work in Excel. But it becomes really easy when you actually do it! Also see attached my file for one of the tests. I removed students’ personal information, but left the grades so that you can see how they are calculated.

Here is the algorithm that I use: shorturl.at/czNX6
And the file: shorturl.at/jwNS0

2. Feedback phrasebook

In another course where I’m TAing, students submit a two or three little assignments each week and two additional big projects. My feedback tends to be repetitive, so I copy it from a separate file. To do it quicker, I organized my “feedback phrasebook” by tone of comment (positive/negative) and topic.

Here is the one I’m using: shorturl.at/IST26

3. TA hours tracker

In order to make sure that my TA hours don’t exceed 20 hours per week, as well as have a more realistic picture of how much I’m working, I made a spreadsheet to track my hours for each course.

I usually put my TA hours in my Google calendar, and then at the end of the week calculate weekly hours for each course where I’m TAing and put the result into my spreadsheet. Excel calculates total weekly hours, average weekly hours for current semester and draws a plot depicting my working hours throughout the semester. This helps me to plan my time and remember that each “hell week” is usually followed by a quiet period.

Here is the template: shorturl.at/afPS7

Feeding forward from summative assessment: The Essay Feedback Checklist as a learning tool

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Submitted by Samantha Mladen

Article Reference

Wakefield, C., Adie, J., Pitt, E., & Owens, T. (2014). Feeding forward from summative assessment: The Essay Feedback Checklist as a learning tool. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 39(2), 253-262.

Article DOI

Summary of Article

Aim: Investigate the use of the Essay Feedback Checklist (EFC) as a strategy to provide feedback to students that improves future performance on other forms of assessment

Method: 104 second year undergraduate sport studies students were recruited and randomized to a feedback-as-usual condition or an experimental condition with receipt of feedback via the Essay Feedback Checklist on a 2,500 word essay. The EFC requires students to rate their performance prior to submission of their assignment. The same checklist is then used by assessors and any significant discrepancies in scores are explained in additional feedback comments to the student. Students can also request additional feedback on specific domains. Randomization condition was assessed as a predictor of performance on a future assignment in the same subject area, but of a different format (knowledge test). Four students volunteered to take part in a subsequent focus group about the EFC process.

Repeated measures ANOVA demonstrated a significant group x assessment effect: students who received standard feedback had a decrease in score from 49.29 +/- 12.06 to 44.00 +/- 15.08. Students receiving EFC feedback increased in score from 50.11 +/- 11.51 to 56.85 +/- 17.74 on the subsequent assignment. Qualitative feedback revealed themes of advantages and disadvantages of the EFC, method of self-assessment, and perceived usefulness for future assessments. Students enjoyed the individualized nature of feedback, especially that assessors responded to the types of feedback specifically requested by students. Some students felt that the EFC hurt their morale, especially when they disagreed with scores given by assessors or when they felt that they did not understand the terminology used by assessors or the rubric. A primary benefit was improvement in students’ learning, including taking time to correct their assignment before turning it in and also adjusting for future assessments.

Discussion: The EFC demonstrated success “feeding forward” learning. Students appreciated many aspects of the procedure, but also raised some concerns, including morale and trust between students and assessors. These challenges offer opportunities for future improvements to the EFC.

Discussion Questions

  1. What is your goal in providing feedback to students? How does this influence what form of feedback you offer?
  2. How could the EFC be implemented in courses that don't use essays? How could the principles of the EFC be adapted for other types of assignments?
  3. Focus group participants in this study indicated that the form negatively impacted their morale. How could this be avoided, while still engaging students in the feedback process?