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The Teaching Space Podcast

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Jan 19, 2018

Episode 6 of The Teaching Space Podcast explores 5 ways teachers can mark or grade faster and smarter.

Podcast Episode 6 Transcript

Welcome to episode 6 of The Teaching Space Podcast.

In the last episode, I promised we would be delving into ways teachers can mark or grade faster and smarter. And that's what we're going to talk about today.

1. Feedback Abbreviations;

My first top tip is to come up with abbreviations for your feedback. Make a note of any feedback comments you seem to be repeating and then abbreviate them and provide learners with a key to your abbreviations.

Here's an example. You have a learner who has made a spelling, punctuation or grammar error, for example, they've missed out an apostrophe.

Rather than typing or writing "please can you check your spelling here, there seems to be an apostrophe error." You might put "P-A". (Punctuation-Apostrophe).

Put these abbreviations in a spreadsheet and have your spreadsheet open by your side when you are marking. Also, provide your learners with a link to your abbreviation spreadsheet so they can understand what you mean.

This also works for marking by hand. You don't have to mark electronically to use abbreviations.

2. Feedback Database

Expanding on the idea of marking abbreviations you could create a database of feedback comments and then copy and paste them into your learner's assignments. So rather than abbreviating the comments, have the comments in full but make use of copy and paste.

I find this works well if you are using a google sheet for your database of comments and if you are copying and pasting those comments into comments on Google Docs.

This, unfortunately, doesn't work if you are marking by hand.

An alternative for creating your database of feedback comments in Google Sheets would be to use the Chrome Extension called Permanent Clipboard.

3. Use Rubrics

According to UC Denver:

A rubric is a scoring guide that helps teachers evaluate student performance based on a range of criteria. A rubric lists the criteria or characteristics that student work should exhibit and describes specific quality levels for those criteria.

Rubrics are typically presented in a table format. You'd have the criteria down one side and the various levels of achievement or quality across the other side and then the evidence that you're looking for would be in the blocks is in between. 

Here's an example from the excellent Cult of Pedagogy.

Using a rubric saves time and allows you to mark faster and smarter because it cuts out a lot of thinking time for you.

It also brings a degree of consistency and fairness to your marking.

And it's really easy for learners to understand from a rubric where they've gone wrong or what they need to do in order to achieve certain grades or criteria.

Rubrics are also very useful for peer and self-assessment. We're going to delve into that in a minute.

4. Peer and Self Assessment

Peer-assessment is, of course, when peers check each other's work and give each other constructive feedback before handing in.

Self-assessment is when learners check their own work against set criteria. 

This is where rubrics can come in handy if your learners clearly understand the rubric and what it is for.

Of these two methods, for the qualifications I teach, I favour self-assessment pre-hand in. I would usually do this by supplying learners with a checklist of criteria and some additional notes to illustrate what I'll be looking for. I expect them to take on the teacher role and self-assess the work using my checklist with the criteria and the notes to make sure that they've done everything they can to meet the criteria. I'd expect them to mark their assignments with the relevant criteria numbers to show where the evidence is. 

They are doing exactly what I would do as a teacher marking their work.

Involving learners in the assessment process is powerful and allows them to take responsibility for their own learning.

If they fully understand what they are being assessed on they are far more likely to achieve and work to their highest potential.

The fact that it streamlines your marking process and takes the pressure off you a bit is an added bonus!

5. Video Feedback

This can be a brilliant timesaver if you like marking electronically but you're not a particularly fast typist. 

Ordinarily, video feedback would be a bit of a slog. Also, the files created from recording a video of someone's document are going to take up a lot of space. If you're not using a cloud-based solution like Google Drive it can all be a bit of a pain.

However, I have found an amazing Chrome Extension that makes all of this really simple. That extension is called Loom. I've written a blog post about Loom here.

What's really amazing about Loom is once you've recorded your screen you don't have to worry about saving the file anywhere. Loom hosts your file and it automatically generates a link which it places on your clipboard. So there's a link to the video and you can then just paste that into a comment on a Google Doc or email.

Video feedback is highly personalised and if you make use of the nice little feature Loom has where you can have your face in the bottom right or left-hand side of the screen.  

Wrap Up

I'm very keen that The Teaching Space podcast is discovered by as many teachers and trainers as possible and you can help me with this.

If you enjoyed the episode please consider leaving a positive iTunes review and that way the show will be served up to more people when they search for teaching podcasts.

Thank you in advance for that. And thank you very much for joining me for Episode 6.