Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A Full Day of Grading

Teachers, TAs, and professors love to complain about the amount of grading they have. But how much is that, exactly? I've seen studies that say assessments and assessment-related activities (I imagine this includes creation, proctoring, and grading) take up 1/3 - 1/2 of a teacher's time. I certainly believe it. But I thought it might be interesting/useful/fun procrastination to consider a rough estimate of how many hours per week it might be reasonable to expect a teacher (in this case, imagine a high school teacher) to spend just grading. And I found what I came up with to be rather amazing (despite all the time I've personally spent grading).

Here are my basic low-end assumptions:

  • A teacher has about 100 students (imagine 4 classes of 25 students each). These days, many teachers teach 5 classes of 30 each. Some pampered private school teachers (like I was) teach 4 classes of 15 students each. Still, 100 is a reasonable estimate and a nice round number.
  • Each student hands in one page to be graded each day. This will likely be a single sheet of homework. This excludes any tests or quizes, which are generally longer than a sheet, so this is definitely a low-end estimate.
  • Each page takes the teacher 1 minute to grade. Again, this sounds like a short time to me if you're actually grading the work. And if you also consider the time it takes to determine the full-page grade and enter it into the computer system...

These estimates lead to a need to grade 500 pages per week, which I'm estimating could take 500 minutes. That's 8.33 hours, or a full work day. Yes, a teacher could easily spend a full work day each week just grading. I find that astonishing.

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