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Academic: The Faculty Lounge
Grading Strategies: Any Ideas?
By Kevin Maillard
The time is coming upon us to earn our keep: the grading of exams. Faced with stacks of bluebooks and Examsoft printouts, many us us vow each and every semester to pace ourselves in grading. "Ten exams a day for two weeks, and I'll be done." Some of us stick to this and easily set aside 2 hours a day for grading. However, I might suspect that many attack grading ferociously, leaving the majority of the work to the very end. Stacks and stacks of papers in piles upon piles, staring at us like a hungry dog needing to be fed.
I swear every year that I think the exams are conjugal--the reproduce in the stacks. Just when you think you are done with your stack for the day, you find that there are six more that you did not spot. And the pile looked so thin! But somehow they hide in between the papers and creep up on you to say HA! You are not done yet!
What strategies do you use to finish grading? To get away from the siren song of cleaning that must be done (at that very minute), food to be prepared, emails to answer, calls to return, plants to water, or even Outlook boxes that must be color coordinated. The possibilities for procrastination are endless.
This blog post calls for creative suggestions on How to Make Yourself Grade. I have some ideas, and I invite others to share. Here are some that I have heard:
-Grade on the subway without a specific destination (Pluses: no calls, emails, or fun colleagues, it's only $2; Minuses: impromptu dance-offs, people going somewhere fun (like home), neat mariachi bands)
-Rent a house in the country (Pluses: inspiring environment, the quiet, the remoteness; Minus: the cost of the rental)
--and the BEST I've heard so far: take a plane to nowhere, and then come back the same day. (Pluses: uses FF miles in a productive way, no possibility of leaving, clouds; Minuses: none, really)
(photo courtesy of Concurring Opinions)
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