Types of evaluation

A number of options for evaluating papers exist; evaluating a paper need not involve correcting every surface error and writing voluminous comments at the end.

  • Give separate grades for form and content.
  • Use "performance" grading: if students do the assignment, they get credit (or points). You make no value judgments about the quality of the work, merely decide what's an acceptable amount of work.
  • Use "impression marking:" scan the paper and mark it based on your general impression of paper's effectiveness. Again, have a clear set of criteria in mind--or even written down--as you read.
  • Use portfolio evaluation: rather than evaluating individual papers, evaluate a student's entire output at the end of the course.
  • Evaluate based strictly on clearly defined criteria, which may be set out in the form of:
    • Contracts: you create a contract which spells out how much work and/or what sort must be done to receive a particular grade. The student chooses what grade to work for.
    • Checksheets: you list the criteria for an acceptable piece of work and evaluate based on how many criteria are met.
    • Scales: rank a student's work based on your criteria. Analytic and Dichotomous are just two of a variety of scales; examples are below.

Sample Analytical Scale
    low       high
General Merit Ideas 2 4 6 8 10
  Organization 2 4 6 8 10
  Wording 1 2 3 4 5
Mechanics Spelling & Punctuation 1 2 3 4 5
  Grammar & Usage 1 2 3 4 5
  Format 2 4 6 8 10
Comprehension Understanding of Terms 2 4 6 8 10
  Application of Concepts 2 4 6 8 10
Total Score:            


Sample Dichotomous Scale
  Yes No  
Content ___ ___ Ideas are insightful
  ___ ___ Ideas are original
  ___ ___ Ideas are logical
  ___ ___ Ideas are clearly expressed
Organization ___ ___ There is a thesis
  ___ ___ Thesis is adequately developed
  ___ ___ Each paragraph is developed with concrete and relevant details
Mechanics ___ ___ Many misspellings
  ___ ___ Awkward sentences