Academic common room
ToastySocks · 19/01/2023 19:23
It's my first time marking essays and just wondered whether you wise people could help with some tips/any advice :) I had been warned that marking was draining, but my gosh, I hadn't realised just how much it would be haha!
I'm marking first year essays for Social Sciences and it's taking me ages to get through it. I'm spending way too long trying to word my feedback so it's not too harsh and is helpful to the students. I'm hoping I'll get quicker once I get into the swing of things, but does anyone has any tips/tricks that have helped them?
GCAcademic · 19/01/2023 19:36
I put a timer on my phone and stick to the time that the university allows us for marking in the workload model.
Also: keep a document with phrases you use frequently that you can copy and paste.
ghislaine · 19/01/2023 19:39
Do you have a marking guide or marks scheme provided? That should help.
I find the best approach is to do a rough calibration. Pass or Fail? If a pass, is it an A, B, C? If it’s a C (ie a 2/2 is it a good, very good or poor example of that class)?
I tend to have a comments sheet which I fill up as I go along and then I cut and paste to save me writing out the same thing over and over. I have a list of stock comments eg clear introduction, muddled structure, good understanding of X on show, need to work on expressing yourself clearly and in plain English, that sort of thing which I then top up with something specific to that student.
I would also say don’t agonise over it too much!
ToastySocks · 19/01/2023 20:42
@GCAcademic That's a really good idea about setting a timer - I need to be more strict with myself and my time! And@ghislaine - yes, a bank of stock phrases and comments is just what I need to build up so I can dip in and out of it - that would make things much easier with future marking too. Thank you both! :)
And re the mark scheme: I've got a generic scale for allocating marks (1st/2.1 etc.) - weirdly enough, I can allocate the marks fine, but it's just writing the specific feedback that's eating up my time/energy. I think the fact that some of them are quite poorly written also slows everything down as I end up re-reading paragraphs/sections to try and get a sense of what they're trying to say.
Very much looking forward to finishing them - not looking forward to the inevitable querying of marks that will follow from some students, but will save worrying about that for another day 😅
FurAndFeathers · 19/01/2023 20:45
Do you use turnitin ? You can do voice note feedback or use the preset comments to speed things up
ghislaine · 19/01/2023 20:47
If it’s not clear , that is the feedback you need to give eg “Your expression/writing style is disjointed/unclear and this undermines the argument you are putting forward.”
You can also refer them to your academic skills or equivalent service so they can improve their writing skills. That is also feedback. Don’t spend time trying to decipher what they mean - if they can’t tell you, then they need to work out how to communicate clearly and effectively not just throw some words on paper and make you make sense of them.
Tallulasdancingshoes · 19/01/2023 20:52
Coded marking is your friend here. You will find that there will likely be 4 or 5 common errors and you end up writing the same comments time and time again. You have different different codes eg letters or numbers that correspond to a comment. Just write the code (letter or number) on the work then email/give out the list of codes so students can read their feedback. Just make up the codes and comments as you go. Just add new ones as necessary.
justasmalltownmum · 19/01/2023 20:53
Generally they tend to make the same mistakes. So instead of writing the same feedback out 10 times, give each mistake a code: eg, AB1
Then make a table: AB1 means....
Saves a lot of time writing it out over and over.
parietal · 19/01/2023 21:57
I have the essay on screen and a notepad in front of me where I write 2 or 3 notes as I read (e.g. Intro - good, body - weak structure, ... ). then when I've read each I type the comments in. Agree about sticking closely to time and rewarding yourself with chocolate biscuits regularly.
If I have a very big batch, I may print out a marksheet with the common comments (both good & bad) to tick off as they arise and then copy-paste the right ones in to the essay. I think a code of A / B etc is too impersonal
EasterIsland · 20/01/2023 17:40
I download all the essays onto my iPad (Humanities - so between 2500-3000 words, and 8-10,000 word dissertations). Then I read through, and record my impressions as I read onto my iPhone, using the dictate mode in the Notes app, or straight into my laptop in Word, again using the dictation function (I don't touch type).
I then tidy up the feedback into generally 3 paragraphs - and not more than two-thirds of an A4 page, single-spaced.
1st par - overview & general impression
2nd par - strengths & weaknesses (with some examples)
3rd par - summary, what to do in their next piece of written work
When we used to get hard-copy essays, I annotated, a LOT - but I gather most students didn't look at our marginal notes, so this method is much quicker. Although it's a huge loss in detailed specific feedback to individual students, but heigh ho! Time is all ...
I'm a very experienced marker, but I still find it hard. It's a focused task that asks quite a lot of the examiner - it's often a self-examination about bias, clarity and so on. I find it takes me about the first 5 essays to get my head into the task, so I do ted to go back over them at the end as a sense check.
And you should be working with a 2nd marker as well, who can also offer an overview & further sense-check.
And our students regularly whinge about our personal prejudices. If only they knew how much we build in formal and informal guards against bias!
mumarooni · 20/01/2023 22:05
I write 4 separate comments (of 1-5 sentences each), relating to:
Understanding (of literature and key concepts)
Evidence (appropriate, sufficient, well used)
Argument (relevant, useful, insightful, original)
Writing (structure, clarity, quality)
This made me much quicker as I stopped trying to mention everything , which was overwhelming to students anyway, and just focused on one key message per point. I think this helped students think about those 4 things when writing knowing that's how I'd evaluate them. I labeled the comments with those four terms so it was quite clear.
nancyglancy · 20/01/2023 22:20
When giving feedback, try to be clear about a few key things that the student can do to improve their mark the next time. So, I do say if writing is unclear, but I also put something like, you can improve your writing by making an appointment with the library writing development team. I try not to overload with the suggestions, it's more likely they will take on board what they feel they can achieve. Liking the other tips here.
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