I know I've been neglecting this blog this week. It's portfolio grading time again! I promise I'll be back next week (with a renewed focus on that Blogging to My PhD series that didn't go quite as planned. I'm taking exams within a year. Let's make this happen!) In the meantime, in honor of the hundreds of papers I'll be grading over the next few days, I thought I'd leave you with an excerpt from Doug Hesse's article on why grading writing can't be done by a computer:
Despite all this complexity, grading per se is reasonably easy for experienced teachers. They can confidently, even quickly, judge whether a given paper is an A or C. If simply recording marks in databases were the end of it, no problem. But, of course, that’s not the end. For grades to be meaningful and useful to students, they require some explanation, perhaps suggestions or direction. Now, this response needn’t necessarily be extensive–nor can it be, given most teachers’ course loads.
However, writing is a fundamental human act. We write for each other, in various guises for various reasons, and teachers have the important responsibility to help students do it well. This means maintaining high standards, but it also means acting as a trusted reader and coach.Be sure to check out the whole article for more and a quiz that will let you test how you'd pick the best writing.