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Assigning Grades

  • Remind students about the expectations (or objectives) in your class.
    Continue to remind your students about expectations throughout the semester. If done at the same time as handing back an assignment, it helps to clarify for students why they received a certain grade.
  • Avoid excessive competition.
    A certain degree of competition is healthy, but grading schemes that put students in direct competition with one another should be avoided because they usually end up discouraging students rather than encouraging them.
  • Impose a grading timeline.
    • All graded material should be handed back in a timely manner. The rule of thumb is to return graded assignments within a week of when they were handed in. If it will take you longer to grade some assignments, be open with your students, notifying them of your progress and giving them an estimated completion date.
    • Turn back the first graded assignment before the add/drop date. This gives students an idea of the expectations in your class while they are still able to change their schedule.
    • Notify students of their grades around the middle of the term. This should help motivate them and also prevent unpleasant surprises when they learn their final grade.
  • Avoid grade appeals
    • Be sure all grading expectations and calculations are clearly outlined in your syllabus.
    • Keep good records.
    • Be sure to talk to your students in person. In response to an e-mail grade query, suggest that you meet to discuss their grade. Emphasize that you would like to talk about specific issues, such as low attendance, missed assignments, low participation, etc.