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It might sound crazy, but letting students grade themselves is a good way to ensure a fair final grade and an improvement in your class' study skills. And despite what you might expect, self grading doesn't mean that everyone in your class will walk away with an 'A'. If done correctly, self grading can be a great way for students to improve their work and understand why they perform the way they do. If you're intrigued, read on to find out more about this innovative process.
The idea behind students grading themselves is simple. You give your students rubrics, which they use to grade their own projects. As the teacher, you also grade the students' projects with the same rubric. Afterwards, you compare the two rubrics; if they match, the student earns a few points extra credit. Most of the time, the rubrics won't match exactly, but the idea of extra credit is enough incentive to get students to think honestly about the quality of their work. And no matter what, your grade--not the students'--will be the one that counts.
The self-grading exercise works best with a simple, straightforward rubric. Try constructing a basic checklist-style rubric in which you assign either all or no points for each element. A more complicated rubric that allows you to give partial credit will be too involved for younger students to understand and too unlikely to yield extra credit for older students to be interested.
To make a checklist rubric, think or three or four main categories you'd like to assess in the project. Then, write down the components of each category. For example, a rubric for an essay might include the main point "introduction." Within this category, you could include the components "thesis," "hook," "plan for the essay" and "correct grammar." It's best if you make each component into a complete sentence; for example: "The introduction contains a clear thesis statement." Since you'll be using an all-or-nothing checklist to determine grades, you'll want to include as many sentence statements as possible so the student can get some points for effort. Along the lines of the thesis component would be: "The introduction argues a point." Make many variation sentences like this one for each subcomponent you come up with.
Next, assign a point value for each check mark. It might be easiest to think of 100 sentence statements so each check mark equals one point, but you could think of 20 statements with a value of five points each. Either way, make the points uniform and do not offer partial credit. Once you've made your checklist rubric, read it over for clarity. Make sure the average student in your class will be able to understand it.
With self-grading, each student will have to think critically about their work before giving themselves check marks. The only way they can get extra credit is if their rubric matches your assessment, so they'll be forced to be honest with themselves. Regular use of the self-grading rubric system can help students improve their writing and learn to target their projects toward your expectations. Your class will have fun playing the teacher and grading their own papers too. Using a self-grading system with rubrics is really a win-win situation. There's no reason not to try it out in your own classroom!
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