End-of-Semester Grading


Are you overwhelmed at the prospect of grading student papers and exams at the end of the term? Do you write extensive comments, note instances of poor grammar and make helpful edits, only to find that no more than a handful of undergraduate students ever come back to pick up their graded exams and papers?

At this stage of the game, your extensive review may not do your students much good. Instead, a scoring rubric or a shorthand system of flagging the really bad and the really good may be for you.

Make simple notations of + and –in the margins. If a student does come to collect his or her work, you can easily find the strengths and weaknesses in the exam responses or paper and take a few minutes then to make more complete comments.

If you do want the students to see and benefit from your comments on a final paper, set a deadline a couple of weeks before the semester ends. That will give you time to evaluate and return their work (and hope they take your comments to heart).

As you plan for your next semester of teaching, consider creating rubrics for exams and writing assignments. They make the grading process go so much faster, and if you share the rubrics with the students, you can help clarify their understanding of what you expect of them.