Rubrics are awesome. Not only do they save time, because you don’t have to write out the same five comments, they actually help you think through what the most important aspect of the assignment.
I’m grading an essay exam and their final paper, which is a revision. Here is my current rubric.
(The exam is worth a tiny tiny portion of their grade, and I was required to give one.)
Do you present a new thought that is not directly from the article you were supposed to write about?
This may be grade inflation, but I don’t care.
The paper is less clear cut. I see their final paper as the opportunity to use all the skills I’ve been babbling at them in the past few months. This is the real final exam. I could grade them on the quality of their final product or I could grade them on their revision.
I decided to grade them on effort. The student who clearly worked her ass off got an A, her first in my class. Everyone else did less well.
I’ve learned a lot about students in this process. It turns out showing up every day counts for something in terms of grades. My conventionally smartest student was not as creative as one of my less-clear-thinking students. I suddenly understand why I was a B+ student throughout my college career. Too many good ideas without strong development.
Gee, that’s nothing like my fucker. Not at all. Bah.