Tuesday, April 11, 2006

I am grade inflation

The professor for whom I'm TA'ing gives his students a chance to rewrite one of their papers at the end of the course to improve their grades. Those papers that are re-submitted are graded by the TA who graded the first draft.

I have a sinking feeling that I'm going to get slammed with a pile of revisions, compared with the other TAs. Why? First, I think I graded marginally harder than they did. I'm not doing that again this batch of papers, for sure, but it's too late to go back and give everyone half-letter upgrades on papers that I thought I was grading extremely generously to begin with.

Second, I give very extensive comments; one of the other TAs does as well, but one just scribbles a few notes at the bottom of the page and leaves it at that. I'm guessing that students will be more inclined to revise the papers on which they've been given clear indications as to how to improve.

Fortunately, I won't have to share grading responsibilities again after this semester. But the take-home lesson isn't good: give students high grades and few comments, and they won't bother you!


Bardiac said...

I get a lot of revisions in some of my classes, and it DOES take extra time to grade. But I think it also really contributes to student learning, so kudos to you for doing it.

A trick one of my mentors taught me along the way: have your students turn in the graded paper with the revised paper. And have them highlight the new things on the revised paper. The highlighting makes it really obvious to you AND the student how much (or not) work has been done on the revisions.

I also tell my students that I expect revisions to be a re-visioning of the essay, and not just a few corrections or additions.

Good luck!

kermitthefrog said...

thanks -- they are actually turning in their old papers with the new, which should be very helpful.

Dr. Lisa said...

Oh, this is indeed very time-consuming, Kermit. I do this in my class and it's going to ruin April

Scrivener said...

I do something like what Bardiac suggests, but a little more elaborate. I make them draft a cover page, in which they explain how they responded to my comments--what they changed, and why. I find I can be very generous about giving them the option to rewrite, because the extra step of having to think about what they do as they do it is disincentive enough to stop those who aren't serious about it.

I am also suspicious of your expectation that those with more extensive comments are more apt to revise. Let us know if that ends up being the case, ok?