Elevating student learning through transformative grading

By Chukwudi Ogoh, Assessments and Feedback Technologies Consultant at Turnitin

Assessments and feedback go hand in hand, as they form an important intersection that assists students’ learning process and enhances the teaching efficacy of educators. However, the pandemic has transformed the education landscape with learning almost entirely transitioning online, which has fundamentally changed the way educators conduct assessments and provide feedback. It has also prompted educators to consider various grading systems so that they can evaluate students fairly and accurately. 


The global spread of the pandemic has significantly affected the world of education. In the Philippines, a recent study on assessment practices during the pandemic, revealed that assessment practices were remodeled as classroom assessments such as quizzes and summative tests were temporarily halted. While assessment materials can be converted to digital formats, it can be challenging for educators to ensure the integrity of test environments in a remote setting. In addition, restricted internet connectivity created logistical issues thereby posing a deterrent to making the shift to online assessment.


Since this remote learning experiment, it is essential to recognize the benefit of high-quality feedback to fuel student learning outcomes in any environment and it goes beyond assigned grades after summative assessments. As a conduit for teacher-student understanding, high-quality feedback reinforces positive learner values and behavior while highlighting areas for improvement. In addition, robust feedback delivered at the right times, can improve student performance even during the most challenging of times. 


Using online grading to encourage learning 

Online grading is a key element for educators to determine student learning efforts and the following are suggested best practices that educators can take on board: 

  • Delivering formative feedback supports meaningful learning, as students can better identify their learning gaps during low-stakes assessment, and take steps to improve performance for when it matters most. As such, students become self-regulated learners and gain confidence.
  • Grading objectively means following a fair evaluation process when assigning scores to a student’s work. Implementation of clear rubrics or criteria goes a long way in helping educators to evaluate fairly and mitigate any scoring bias or unreasonable advantages. This also gives students a clearer picture of what is expected of them when they undergo remote assessments.
  • Item analysis as the method of analyzing student responses to individual assessment or exam questions with the purpose of evaluating assessment quality, is another key consideration. Item analysis is highly beneficial because it identifies patterns in students’ demonstrated learning. Based on data, educators evaluate the appropriate difficulty of assessments, so that test results accurately reflect the students’ grasp of the learned concepts and ideas. . 


Assessments should be aligned with what was discussed in class, as tests that are too difficult can drive some students to take short-cuts to attain the desired grade, which takes the focus away from actual learning. Given these possibilities, utilizing the item analysis approach greatly benefits educators when designing assessments.


Item analysis ensures fairer assessments that are aligned to learning objectives, and informs assessment design via data-driven decisions that facilitate student learning and academic integrity. It takes on crucial importance in the current education landscape since data becomes a primary source of information in the absence of a physical classroom. 


Transforming grading through technology

As educators are often faced with time and resource limitations, utilizing grading technology makes a world of difference, by enabling fast, quality feedback loops between teachers and students and action-oriented data for subjects. Beyond just numerical or letter grade assessments, grading technology allows educators to build a detailed and high-quality rubric for consistent application across all student submissions. With the evaluation criteria built into the system, educators can assess students’ output in real-time and even apply the set standards to previously graded submissions, which can help accelerate the grading process. This will serve to align student-teacher expectations and allow students to address their learning gaps and prepare for assessments more effectively.


With grading technology, educators will be privy to data insights that will help them measure teaching efficacy, improve their assessments and course content, and anticipate potential roadblocks to learning in real-time.


The way forward: innovation and equitable grading

Now more than ever, assessment and grading are crucial components in online and hybrid education to determine if student learning objectives are being achieved.  In remote learning,  it’s also tougher to ascertain if a student has completed an assessment on his or her own merit, meaning academic integrity ought to be a key priority for institutions  in securing accurate assessments and grading.


When innovating the grading process, educators must not overlook the role of equitable grading in positively impacting student learning, and improving teaching efficacy. As the Philippines slowly comes to terms with education transitioning to a remote or hybrid learning environment, equitable grading and accurate assessments are two vital mechanisms that can help drive motivation in students, particularly during the pandemic that is still putting a strain on the country.


With the changes in the learning environment, assessment and grading methods must also respond to the needs of both the students and educators. By leveraging education technology, educators can better harness student strength and capabilities, and provide fairer, faster grading and data-driven feedback to address learning gaps efficiently.

Post Author: tipsgeeks