Aug 7, 2014
SHOW NOTES: Our show topic is, “Grading Feedback...How Much Is Too Much?"
I really enjoy grading student submissions! Yes, I honestly look forward to the student grading process. Grading student submissions is one of the most fascinating aspects of teaching! We just have to prepare and plan ahead for it to be fun! Having the opportunity to access the student submissions where they share their innermost thoughts, their analysis, and their unique worldview is a privilege. The entire process of disseminating information to several students at the same time and in the same manner (via in class lecture in a physical classroom, via releasing an audio lecture in an online classroom, etc.) and then having the ability to observe how different students accessed that information and interpreted it is exciting. It is like going to see a movie with a group of friends and then discussing it afterwards and finding out how differently we all experienced the same content. There are times when it will seem like we didn’t even see the same film! The way we all interpret information is related to our individual experiences, our existing knowledge base, our interests, our biases, and a range of other factors.
It is the same exploration of how we and other people process the world when I have the opportunity to grade student submissions. We all have been in the same class with the same information yet that shared experience is filtered through the lens of each scholars’ unique combination of factors that make them an individual. There are times when I grade work and I learn that I need to address enhancement of, or replacement of, a particular issue that was not conveyed effectively to a large portion of the group. At other times I will ask myself if we all were in the same class (based on the different interpretations of the content and assignment parameters). Some students have heightened attention to the smallest details and will address items that I did not even note when preparing the lesson and/ or assessment. There are other times when students do not read the assigned material, assignment instructions, syllabus and/ or other mandatory material and that omission will result in them not completing the required tasks. That is their choice and it is insightful to access what actions the student decided to take (or not to take).
Grading permits me to gain individual data about how each student learns, what their interests are, where their skill weaknesses exist and what strengths and mastery they already possess. It also permits me to obtain group data regarding the course content (where the group had similar challenges is often an indicator of the need for additional improvement of that specific content delivery process). I also learn new ways of interpreting the material myself, which is a delight!
The reality is that all of our enthusiasm for teaching in general and for grading specifically may result in us providing inappropriate and excessive feedback to our students. This may happen because we:
1) Want to do everything in our power to ensure that the students are as eager and enthusiastic about the subject matter as we are.
2) We fear that our students will not access all of our content so we think that if a little feedback is good, more feedback is better.
We must be aware of the following: [...]
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