Monday, March 26, 2012

Grading Online Work

From Teaching College English

So, since most of us use a rubric or holistic scale to grade online work (see HERE for several models), I thought I would try to transform my scale into a checklist of sorts using Google Forms to evaluate my ENG099 blogs this week end.

As I was putting together the form, I realized that if I included the descriptions for every category, the resulting paragraph that I would then paste into the Blackboard comments would be enormous and therefore off-putting.

Besides, I wanted to include a sentence or two of encouragement, either for a job well done or a sincere attempt at getting the work done.

So I decided that I would give my students the evaluation scale HERE, and key the comments to it, as in these examples:

For Quality:
  • Excellent job! Your discussion of ideas others is relevant, thoughtful, insightful, and fully developed. Your level of online work is Exemplary. OR
  • You need to push yourself a bit more. Your discussion of ideas is somewhat relevant, but sometimes also superficial, incomplete, or general. Your level of online work is Developing. 
For Quantity:
  • Thanks for writing all blog entries. OR
  • Notice that you missed two blog entries. Please let me know if there is a problem that is not allowing you to complete the work on time.

Of course, all categories in the form had the option for filling in extra comments, as particular students may have something else going on in their writing that we need to expand on.

A typical overall evaluation created by the form, then, would look like this (keep in mind that I also give feedback on individual blog entries via the Comment function on students' blogs):
You are starting to get good at this! Your discussion of ideas is at some points quite relevant and thoughtful. Your level of online work is between Developing and Proficient. Thanks for writing all blog entries.Your work during class (Group Work, Reflections) as well as homework (Writing Tutorials, Grammar Exercises) is outstanding. 
To improve, in the next unit aim for longer blog entries with more concrete examples and ideas. Use what you know!

By the end of the next unit, you need to complete at least one quiz on Articles.
The last part, where students are directed to work on a writing/ grammar problem is keyed to the class blog's Writing/Grammar page, such as this one HERE.

  • What I like most about this use of the form is that it allows me to take time to write encouraging feedback (I tend to get critical as the grading hours roll on). 
In terms of advantages over regular rubric/scale grading:
  • If you add an option to fill in the unit, it keeps a record of your feedback for every student per unit. Because the results go to a spreadsheet, you can isolate your responses to a particular student, thereby getting a pretty good picture of how the student is progressing, what you told her to do at every step, and what kind of help she still needs.


  1. This is very helpful - it is often hard to determine a good, systematic way in which to give students feedback on their blogs. Do you send this to them privately by email or post their evaluation publicly on the blog?

  2. The "paragraph" that it creates I post to the Comment box of their gradebook in Blackboard. Alternatively, I could print the paragraphs and staple them to a paper they have turned in.

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