Grading techniques

1ec8969A few years ago, most European universities began using letter grades (A, B, C, D, E and F). This actually made grading harder than before. We used to have numeric grades, on a scale from 1 to 6, with 1 as the best grade. Then I would grade reports simply by measuring their thickness and multiplying with a factor (the thinner the report, the better the grade). Sorting exams into categories is much more complicated, with lots of if..then statements in your spreadsheet.

Luckily, Daniel Solove has, very collegially, shared his robust method of grading. Continuing the tradition of learning from Law School faculty (after all, they invented the case method), I think this will be my preferred method from now on.

Christmas is approaching, and our new building has plenty of staircases which seem purpose-built for this grading method. The only problem is that more and more students submit exams electronically. I think it is inefficient and costly to print out all the papers before grading them. Could there be a market for an electronic grading toss simulator?

(Via Volokh)

5 thoughts on “Grading techniques

  1. i1277

    I heard about this employer that didn’t like having to deal with the usual large pile of applications. So he just tossed half of them away, the “reasoning” being that “to suceed in my company, you’ll need a little luck”.
    (Probably an urban legend, but still…)

  2. Espen

    I know people who insist they have seen that happen – an exec tossing half the pile in the bin, muttering “I have no use for people with bad luck….”

  3. Kristian

    As a student of one of your courses I am happy to read that our hard work will result in appropriate grading :D.
    Personally I prefer the Standardized Lottery grade Awarding Method (SLAM) where grades are awarded according to a draw. This is an entry level method and I know it’s time consuming, but it’s still fair.
    Furthermore, I understand through this Standardized Toss Down Stair Case grade Awarding Method (STD-SCAM or STanDard-SCAM as it is commonly refered to) that it’s important to either hand in first (be in bottom of the pile) or deliver last (in order to be on top of the pile). The problem is to know if you hand out the grade A from the top or the bottom of the stair case.

  4. Julie

    Oh, I interpreted the picture like this: each particulary exam is tossed down the staircase, and the more steps it covers (the longer it is), the better the grade. This would work in a similar way as simply weighing each exam (except that it would give the exact opposite results).

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