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How to save time and improve your teaching - 1

Last updated on 17 August 2022
Doing assignments is the basic motor for active blended learning. But what if providing feedback and grades, takes up a lot of your time? This didactic tip will help you save time and improve your teaching with a simplified grading method.

As a part of active blended learning, students often make partial assignments, for which they receive a partial grade. For an optimal learning process, it’s important they also receive feedback.

Simplified grading for partial assignments

You probably give partial grades on a 10-point scale, but it could be useful to ask yourself why. Such a precise scale often requires a lot of deliberation. For instance: a 7+ means slightly better than sufficient. A 10-point scale could also lead to extensive discussions with students. All of it costs time, while qualitative feedback is actually more important than the grade itself.

So, how to save time on this? Use a 3-point scale for partial assignments, instead of very precise grades. For instance: 0, 1 or 2 points. 

0 = not finished. 

1 = sufficient. 

2 = very good. 

A global estimate of the quality of the assignment is much simpler and mostly also easier to explain.

Use the 10-point scale only for the final grade of the course. For this, you can mathematically convert the different grades on the 3-point scale to a 10-point scale. 

Additional tip: give feedback first, grades second

Once they receive their grade, students often lose interest in the accompanying feedback. This is a loss of the time and effort you spent on it. Investigate a possibility to give the students their feedback first, possibly also let them process it first, and only then give the grades. Read our tip on how to easily do this. 

Digital Support

With the tool FeedbackFruits Assignment Review, you can set up the assignments so that feedback and grades are given separately. See these instructions (Step 3) for setting up the publication method for feedback and grades.

A second option is to add another step in the assignment for which students give each other feedback (FeedbackFruits Peer Review). Give your own grade after the peer feedback.

Tips based on Kristina Edström - The Teaching Trick: How to improve student learning without spending more time teaching and Faculty Focus.

This teaching tip is provided by VU NT&L and LEARN! Academy.