Grading is stressful and time consuming, but it doesn’t have to ruin the end of your semester. We’ve put together some of our, and your, favorite tips to make grading just a little bit easier. And if you’ve never used SpeedGrader, now is the time!

1. Embrace Canvas’s SpeedGrader function

Make sure all your assignments have a grade. If a student is missing an assignment, make sure to enter a zero grade. The “Total” grade does not include ungraded items shown with a dash, so failing to assign students who have not turned in an assignment a zero after the due date results in students seeing a better grade than they may actually receive. Use the “Set Default Grade” option on the gradebook column after the due date to set un-submitted grades to zero. For help, consult the Canvas guide, How do I set a default grade for an assignment?

Create assignment groups to drop the lowest grade. If you would like to drop grades from an assignment set, place those assignments in an assignment group and add a group rule to drop the lowest grade(s). It is important to remember that if you drop grades, you must enter a zero for any assignment not submitted by a student. Canvas will only drop graded items. For help, consult the Canvas guide, How do I create rules for an assignment group?

Match your gradebook grading scheme with your syllabus grading policy. If you would like to display the course “Total” grade to your students as a letter grade, enable the course grading scheme. However, make sure to update the default Canvas grading scheme to match your syllabus grading policy, and if you are using weighted assignment groups, verify the group weights are consistent with your syllabus. For help, consult the Canvas guide, How do I enable a grading scheme for a course?

Markup and leave comments in student documents directly in SpeedGrader. This tool works with .pdf, .doc/.docx, and .ppt/.pptx files. You can leave comments, annotate within the document, and use editing features such as strikeout and highlighting. Students can reply to your comments within the document as well. For help, consult the Canvas guide How do I add annotated comments in student submissions using DocViewer in SpeedGrader?

Use a rubric in SpeedGrader to help you grade assignments. Make sure to add a point-valued rubric to the assignment and check the box indicating that you would like to use it while grading. By doing this, the scores will update in Gradebook automatically. For help, consult the Canvas guide How do I use a rubric to grade submissions in SpeedGrader?

2. Copy-and-paste common feedback

If you are grading a lot of writing assignments, you may find that you have the same kind of feedback for students over and over. Open a document and type up the comments that you find yourself most frequently wanting to make. For example, “This is an interesting observation, but I don’t see a clear piece of evidence to support it.” Simply copy and paste comments like this into your feedback for each student, either in Canvas or a document.

3. Don’t grade things you don’t teach

Your decisions about how to spend your time teaching have been guided by your course outcomes; your decisions about how to spend your time grading should be guided by them too.

Be sure that you are grading students’ skills and knowledge, not just their ability to read instructions or perform a new task that is unfamiliar to them (unless, of course, those are specific outcomes for your course!).

As a reminder, there are special Spring 2020 Academic Regulations in place to better serve students  during COVID-19. You will assign letter grades as usual in UDSIS (the  deadline is Monday, June 1, 2020). Students will be given the option to request a change from receiving a letter grade to a modified Pass/Fail one (based  on the letter grade assigned), and have the additional option of withdrawing without academic penalty until Friday, May 1.

  • If your students have questions or concerns about this grade change process, they can review the Undergraduate Grade Change FAQ and consult with their assistant dean’s office.
  • For questions or concerns about the withdraw process, students can review the Undergraduate Withdraw from Course FAQ and consult with Student Financial Services.
  • Graduate students can speak with their department chair about how the academic regulations are applicable to their situation.

Need even more tips? Check out our previous post on grading tips here.

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