Andrew Eberhard, a Professional Teaching Fellow at the University of Auckland’s Faculty of Business and Economics, is responsible for teaching and grading thousands of undergraduate students each year. While Andrew has a genuine passion for teaching—earning five awards of excellence since 2011—he quickly found grading to be a logistical nightmare.
When preparing to grade an exam for a class of 1,000+ students, Andrew and his teaching assistants would start by dividing the workload into 20 stacks of 50 booklets. Each TA would be responsible for evaluating only one specific question, passing on completed stacks to the next grader who would grade another question, repeating this process 19 additional times.
It was a Kafkaesque process.
There are always mistakes and inefficiencies in grading: graded assessments may get improperly mixed with non-graded booklets, a meticulously organized stack of assessments may get knocked off a table, questions may get graded multiple times, scores may get improperly recorded in the gradebook, and papercuts are always a certainty.
Fortunately, grading became much more manageable when Andrew started using Crowdmark in 2014. Crowdmark is a collaborative online grading and analytics platform which enables educators to grade paper-based assessments anytime and anywhere through a web browser. Students in Andrew’s classes still write their exams and assignments using pen and paper, however the completed assessments are then scanned and uploaded to the Crowdmark’s online platform where they are graded online.
The only physical contact Andrew and his team now have with assessments is putting them through a rapid scanner. Once uploaded, Andrew designates specific questions or students—pre-formatted through Crowdmark’s grading grid—to his team members, who then complete their grading from anywhere using their smartphones, tablets, laptops, or desktop computers. Assessments are then digitally returned to students with rich feedback through comments, pen marks, scientific type-sets, embedded images, and hyperlinks to online resources.
Over the past three years Andrew has graded nearly 25,000 student assessments through Crowdmark. His team now spends less than half the time grading as they did with pen and paper, his students are receiving more formative feedback, and he never has to trade a stack of papers again.
About the Author: Dustin is a senior account manager with DesignedUX, providing communications and marketing strategy to organizations in education and technology. Dustin is also a part-time faculty member at Centennial College and serves on the board of the Canadian Public Relations Society.