When it comes to marking a test or essay grading, you may think you know how your teacher or professor works. However, there are certain aspects of grading that may come as a surprise to students. Read these ten things your teacher won't tell you about grading, and then maybe refine how you write an essay or prepare for a test!
1. Most Teachers Won't Spend Hours With Your Work
Especially in introductory college classes where there can be hundreds of papers or tests, your teacher is not going to spend valuable time decoding your answer or giving you the benefit of the doubt. In reality, fifteen minutes is spent with each test paper. Be clear, know your material and don't make your teacher guess. With only fifteen minutes of their time, be sure your stuff is good!
2. Sometimes It's Not Your Teacher Who Does the Grading
That being said, it's not always your teacher or professor who will do the grading. Sometimes graduate students, Teaching Assistants (TAs) or even senior undergraduate students will mark papers. It's important your work leaves a good impression, as the person marking may not know you from class.
3. It's Not Easy to Get an A
Contrary to popular belief, colleges do not throw away A grades. You have to work hard to achieve these! In introductory classes, usually only 10%-25% of the class will achieve an A grade. Work hard, as this high grade is not guaranteed!
4. Grades Are Not Always Based on a Curve
Check with your teacher or professor, but not all classes are based on a curve. That is to say, not all classes only have a limited supply of A grades, B grades and C grades. It's likely you got a B because your work was of that level, not because your friend took the last A grade that was available for the class.
5. Teachers Merit Originality
Essays that don't regurgitate what was taught in class, that contain outside material quoted in them and include original ideas are highly valued by teachers and professors. This shows your academic independence and capability, which will then be merited.
6. The First Impression Your Work Gives is Very Important
The first impression your test or essay gives to the marker will let the person grading know what to expect for the remainder of the assignment. A poorly written introduction, spelling mistakes and incoherency will immediately put your teacher in the frame of mind that your paper is not worthy of an A grade.
7. The Leaving Impression is Also Very Important
That being said, the last thing you write on a test or include in your conclusion is equally important. Especially for long essays and tests, a powerful conclusion or ending paragraph will remind your teacher that you are a strong student worthy of an A grade.
8. Don't Write Your Teacher Notes or Excuses on Your Test
If you didn't prepare for a test, don't leave a long excuse on the paper. Your lack of preparation is already very apparent to them. Leaving notes won't gain you sympathy and it will probably just annoy your teacher or TA, harming your chances at a reasonable grade.
9. Teachers Don't Appreciate Those Who Leave Tests Early
If you walk out of a test early, a teacher won't remember this and value your speed. Tests are designed to be a certain length for a reason - and if you finish early, check your work! You can always improve, and walking out early displays indifference or laziness.
10. Disputing Your Grade Won't Always Work
There is always a procedure when it comes to grading, and very rarely does arguing over your grade ever result in a positive change. If you don't agree with the grade you've been given, take some time to read over their comments and read over your work. Only then should you see your teacher with professional reasoning as to why you think your grade deserves a higher grade. With these ten grading secrets out in the open, students can now approach their test preparation and essay writing knowing how to impress. While there is no quick and easy way to succeed, knowing what a teacher or professor wants from a student and how they grade can certainly help you!