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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.
      Low     High

General Merit 

Ideas 2 4 6 8 10
  Organization  2 4 6 8 10
  Wording  1 2 3 4 5


Spelling and Punctuation 1 2 3 4 5
  Grammar & Usage  1 2 3 4 5


Understanding of Terms  2 4 6 8 10
  Application of Concepts  2 4 6 8 10

Total Score:

  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
      Many misspellings 
Mechanics      Awkward sentences