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Grading One Question vs. the Entire Assessment

Assessment is an important part of the teaching and learning process. Not only is detailed feedback an essential part of assessment but the speed at which students receive that feedback can affect the absorption of concepts. To decrease grading times and return assessments faster, some grading teams assign one question per grader and have that grader mark that question across all assessments. While this is a common technique, there are pros and cons to marking one question vs. entire exams.

Although marking one question again and again can be faster, some instructors like getting a sense of students’ overall understanding of concepts and seeing whether the test, as a whole, was well received. Instructors we have spoken with, though, often prefer grading one question at a time when working with grading teams or when marking for large classes.

The Benefit of Grading One Question at a Time

In a recent interview with Alan Ableson, Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering at Queen’s University, we asked which works better for his grading teams.

Hands down having one person mark one question the whole way through….You get a clearer picture within the confines of one question than you ever can trying to skip across all of them.

Alan goes on to say that, across grading teams, this method increases:

  • Time savings for graders
  • Focus and consistency of grading
  • Understanding of where students are coming from

Even when not grading as part of a team, Alan recommends this method when grading papers that come in late. He finds that changing gears to go through each question can be challenging, and reviewing one question helps to focus his thoughts on one concept at a time.

Additionally, Alan notes that some may be concerned that the teaching assistants’ learning experience may be diminished by this style of grading since they may still be grasping the nuances around some higher level ideas. To address this concern, Alan recommends using the one-question-grading technique when marking low-level classwork. In these instances, TAs already know the material being tested, and their ultimate goal is to deliver a large amount of marked papers as quickly as possible. Accordingly, it is in the best interest of the instructor to make their job more efficient and more palatable.

How Crowdmark Helps Grade One Question at a Time without Paper Shuffling

People currently using Crowdmark as well as those who are considering purchase often ask how grading on our platform works.

Crowdmark makes grading remote exams easy and seamless. On your assessment screen you’ll see submissions organized by question. This allows graders to grade individual questions for consistency. You can also have the individual graders grading different questions simultaneously. We invite you to watch this video to better understand the remote exam grading workflow.

Are you a Crowdmark user interested in more help with using the platform? We have many more YourTube videos and help documents. We also offer individualized trainings to help you or your teams grt a better grip on effective assessment with Crowdmark. Check out the help center or get in touch with crowdmark support for assistance.

Interested in learning more about Crowdmark? Get in touch for a free trial: