Brown DLD Faculty Guides

Feedback and Grading

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Feedback and Grading Questions to Consider Before Your Course Begins

It will benefit you to think through grading considerations before the semester so that you can anticipate the critical feedback points for students, how to support their success on assignments, and how to manage your grading workload and schedule.

Prior to creating any assignments, discussions, or quizzes in Canvas, we recommend thinking through the following questions? 

  • How do you usually approach grades? How has this approach worked in the past? Do you feel that the grades accurately reflect students’ mastery of the material, or might adjustments need to be made?
  • Are all assignments of equal weight or do you have different components or sets of assignments worth different percentages? How do these weights relate to the importance of the learning outcomes?
  • How flexible do you want to be in allowing students multiple attempts at an assignment or submitting late work? What is the rationale for your decision, and what might some implications be of your policies?
  • Do you offer multiple ways for students to demonstrate their knowledge, in line with the principles of Universal Design for Learning?
  • How can you provide transparency in the feedback and grading process to students? If using a rubric, what criteria and performance levels do you need to outline on it to support your assignment objectives?
  • How do due dates align with your schedule and your ability to give timely feedback? How much time will you need to provide students with meaningful feedback that they can apply to the next assignment before it is due?

Effective Feedback and Grading Practices

  • Communicate your grading policies—generally, these policies should be in the first module of the course. Try to make them clear and explicit.
  • For each assignment, provide instructions and criteria on how students will be assessed. It is also helpful to explain what learning outcomes the students will be developing or meeting by working on the assignment.
  • Set students up to succeed by providing exemplars, models, assignment checklists, or rubrics.
  • Give opportunities for students to reflect on their learning and performance on assignments.
  • If possible, provide feedback on both the assignment and the process. How might students improve not only their work, but the approaches and strategies they use to undertake it?
  • Prompt students to apply and integrate feedback on future assignments.
  • Use the Announcements feature in Canvas to provide guidance, advice, and further instruction to the whole class. If you see common errors—or strengths—after reviewing student work, use these tools to communicate whole class feedback, addressing the highest prioritized and most frequent misconceptions or points in need of further discussion. You can also hold office hours by phone or Zoom for any who can attend—and options for those who can’t.

Note: Canvas offers more than one way of reviewing student work and giving feedback. You can assign scores, leave written, video, or audio comments, annotate on submissions, develop and use rubrics via the SpeedGrader, the Gradebook, or your graded assignments. 

For more guidance on various types of assessments and when to use them, see our Creating Assessments and Assignments guide.

For more information about setting up your grading system and providing feedback, please refer to the following articles:

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