I grade hundreds of assignments every week--I had 386 waiting for me this past Friday evening--and I use a set of marks to communicate with as many students as I can. It's impossible for me to give time to EVERY assignment every student submits, but I don't need to because I have a number of ways of evaluating student work. I also post answer keys for students to use to check their own work, which usually is all that's needed.
Remember: Course exams are the ONLY official tests of student achievement.
I normally have opportunities to meet privately with older students through premium support or private instruction arrangements, and I intend to discuss their assignments during those meetings...which is why I don't write a lot on their papers, but use a simple set of marks. Here's a brief explanation of what those marks mean.
I. Assignment Scores
I grade with a 3 point system that is very easy to understand:
- 0 - written assignment not submitted
- 1 - written assignment submitted but incomplete
- 2 - written assignment submitted, looks good.
- 3 - written assignment submitted, all answers perfect (very rare).
Therefore, the goal of every written assignment is to score a 2, which means that the student is preparing well for coming assessments.
II. Answer Marks
There are three possible marks for any question:
- Correct - marked by a "C", this is a correct answer.
- Check - this answer looks good, but was checked quickly; check answer key.
- Incorrect - marked by an "X", this answer is wrong. Review the lesson and correct it.
- OK - marked with a circle, this answer is not good enough to be marked correct, but not bad enough to be marked incorrect. Usually it's partially correct or not clear. Please discuss any such questions with me.
III. Every Assignment a Conversation
When I give a student an assignment the student should see it as the beginning of a new conversation. We're going to discuss the lesson until the student can demonstrate mastery of it. The student's goal is to study carefully, answer correctly and end the discussion as quickly as possible. There's no need for me, as a teacher, to discuss things with you that you can understand on your own. Our discussions will be limited to those questions you don't understand, to make sure you learn every point.
William Michael, Headmaster
Classical Liberal Arts Academy