Minasuk/ April 30, 2016/ Uncategorized

The five stages of grading | notthatkindofdoctor | October 2010

Denial.  At this stage, the instructor is unwilling to acknowledge
the size of the task ahead of him or her. An instructor in denial may be
heard to say things like, “It’s not really that many essays, when you
think about it.” An instructor in denial will grossly overestimate his
or her potential assignment-per-hour output. Denial at the
syllabus-creation stage of course development can lead to tears. Denial
can also manifest itself as avoidance, where grading is put aside in
favour of vastly more important activities like cleaning the fridge,
baking, working out, or writing elaborate blog posts about the stages of

Anger.  Usually anger begins once the instructor starts grading.  The
first few papers are likely to excite the grader, but as a steady
stream of errors trickles in, the instructor may become disillusioned.
Commonly heard at this stage: “But we covered this in class!  A lot!”
“Wait, what does this even mean?” “Redundant!  This is redundant!”
Instructors at this stage of the process are likely to have
unnecessarily large reactions to relatively small frustrations; for
example, in one case an instructor screamed into a pillow upon
discovering that every student in the class was still using “they” as a
singular pronoun.

Bargaining. This stage usually begins as an earnest attempt to buckle
down and grade.  The instructor might say, “If I grade five papers, I
can watch one episode of House,” or, “For every page I grade, I
get to eat a piece of candy.”  This process starts well, but as the
instructor progresses the amount of work required to achieve the reward
generally becomes smaller and smaller, until the instructor is checking
Facebook after every sentence he or she grades.

Depression. At some point in a marking weekend, the instructor will
come to realize that in spite of his or her best intentions, the papers
won’t be marked in time for the next class. For the idealistic young
instructor, this is also usually the moment he or she realizes that the
assignments themselves are not particularly strong.  These realizations
can lead to feelings of failure, spiralling into reality TV watchathons
or video game blitzes instead of grading.  Ultimately, though,
recognizing one’s limitations is a healthy part of the process that
leads directly to the final stage.

Acceptance/Resignation. At some point, the instructor comes to term
with the reality that the papers must be graded. This reality is usually
acknowledged the afternoon before the instructor wishes to return the
papers, leading to an all-night grading blitz. At some point and by some
miracle, however, it all gets done, and the instructor is primed and
ready to start to the process over again when the next major assignment
comes in.

Image:  Pablo Picasso, 1902–1903, Femme assise (Melancholy Woman), oil on canvas, 100 x 69.2 cm, Detroit Institute of Arts, Michigan.