56. Student Graded Essays

In order to show students how hard it is to score essay-type questions and tests, students themselves should be required to grade other students’ tests. Perhaps the students doing the grading should also sometimes write papers describing the process, especially including difficulties they have encountered while making decisions on how to grade various parts of these test and how they have struggled with ascribing actual point values to some of the difficult, borderline answers. Students doing the grading should also interact with the students whose tests they have graded so that each side could both better understand how to write improved essay answers and also understand the difficulty of ascribing an always completely accurate grade to each essay question and test.

Such a system could be used, at least in part, to help alleviate some of the workload that teachers and professors have when it comes to grading by allowing students to do the bulk of the grading for certain tests. Inevitably, students whose tests have been graded by other students will often dispute those grades with the teacher or professor. The teacher or professor could then review the essay answers on disputed tests and make a final determination on that point.

To prevent students from flooding the professor with requests to review numerous grading disputes, the professor could place an arbitrary limit on the number of individual disputes any one student can bring to the professor concerning any one test. Furthermore, each student whose complaints were not justified would either suffer a reduction in the number of disputes that the same student could bring to the professor in the future, or the subtraction of an additional point on the exam in which the dispute was shown to be unfounded. This deduction would serve as a penalty to the student for bringing up a matter to the professor without justifiable cause, regardless of how honest the student’s intentions were.


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