Trials and Tribulations of Objectively Grading Extended Response Questions in ELA/Writing

Let’s face it, grading can be a burden! How many teachers lug home a backpack, satchel, or tote bag FULL of papers to grade? I remember that all too well. Then how many were actually graded and given back to students in a day or two? ESPECIALLY essays or extended response assignments!

Most all educators are trained in a form of process writing where you are taught how to quickly scan and briefly read paragraphs or a 5-paragraph paper in a short period of time and then score it between a 0 for no credit to a 4 for an almost perfect paper. I used to tell teachers when I trained them that a 4 is like picking up a novel knowing there will not be grammatical or structural errors. Students were taught that, too.

The other point to remember is objectivity! Now, as an educator and instructor, the teacher KNOWS his/her smart- good- A+ students. One might think that this will not impact grading- wrong! I recall sorting my papers before grading them. Yes, I would look at the student’s name and put it in a pile. One pile for what I thought would be a 0 or a 1, another pile for barely making the cut at a 2 and so on.

Was this fair grading? NO, not at all!

I wanted all students to score a 2 or higher, but, knew the low performers and had a mindset of that.

We know that on state assessments, there is no bias. To better align with state assessments for extended responses and essay writing, Lumos has now aligned itself with a program that grades writing objectively.

Being the innovator in learning, Lumos has now added a feature that will do the scoring of students’ writing for you!

What a burden off your shoulders!

Here is how it works!

Students type in their answers to extended responses and submit them. When the student is finished with the assignment, it is graded electronically for them.

Note the screenshot below where an extended response was given and can be automatically graded by the Lumos Learning online program. The teacher can then review and submit this grade. Also, note that links are given for the Write Metrics to view student details regarding grammar and usage.


Bonnie McRae