In brief:

  • Establishing clear grading criteria will help you grade with better objectivity, consistency and transparency.
  • For collaborative projects, peer evaluation is a good way to ensure individual grades reflect contributions of each group member.
  • Participation is a common part of university course assessments. Instructors should be explicit about the grading criteria for participation.

Grading Equity, Transparency, and Efficiency

When it comes time to grade your assessments, how will you approach them? Here are a few points to keep in mind as you determine how to ensure your grading method is equitable, transparent, and time-efficient.

  • Determine your grading criteria. What are the requirements of the assignment (i.e. specific parts to be included) and what specifically are you looking for when you grade the assignment? These will be aligned with the learning outcomes you are evaluating with the particular assessment. For example, if you are grading a traditional academic paper, you might be looking for: a good thesis, strength of arguments, use of supporting evidence, cohesion, etc.
  • Determine a value for each grading criteria. Will all components be weighted equally? (i.e. Strength of the argument, Use of supporting evidence might be valued at 5 points while the Thesis might be valued at 1 point)
  • Determine your grading standards. What separates an A from a B, or an excellent paper from a fair one? How can you make this transparent to your students (and avoid difficult discussions trying to justify your grades)? You may want to consider creating a rubric, which can save you time later when grading and also make the process more transparent for students.
  • Make all grading criteria available to students in advance. Providing this information to students is not “teaching-to-the-test”, but rather it helps clarify what learning students are expected to demonstrate, and leaves them the space to figure out how they will meet these expectations.

The next section will:

  • help you plan effective assessment tasks.

Further Resources


1Howard, J. R. (2015). Discussion in the College Classroom: Getting Your Students Engaged and Participating in Person and Online. Jossey-Bass: San Francisco.