The issue with peer grading

Multiply 30 papers per class by four different class periods, you get 120 papers to grade. And that’s only counting one day’s worth of ungraded work. Can you imagine multiplying that by five — a whole week’s worth of untouched papers? It’s no surprise that any teacher would need some assistance for grading papers when it comes to these huge numbers. Peer grading seems to be teachers’ solution when it comes to such a dilemma. While it may seem like the perfect solution, the repercussions and risks of having students grade each other’s papers outweigh the seemingly effective method of peer grading of having students understand the grading process.

Having students grade papers is a valuable method to allow students to have an understanding of the grading process. This can possibly save time later on so that students are not constantly bothering the teacher asking why something is marked wrong or whether or not their answer would be acceptable.

However, again, the merit in having students knowledgeable of how points are distributed is not as important as making the most of class time: engaging in lesson plans and working on individual in-class assignments. After all, it’s essentially the teacher’s job to teach and grade papers and the student’s job to learn. Students should be learning and retaining information throughout the entire class period, and having the teacher recite answers to a worksheet for students to grade simply takes away from precious class time. Some students already struggle to understand the lesson within that time frame, and having them grade a neighbor’s work takes away even more time for students to master that lesson.

Another negative that stems from peer grading is cheating. Sometimes, peers are friends with the student whose test they are grading, which leads to them being too lenient and giving out free points left and right. Even though there is the “corrected by” at the bottom of the paper to distinguish who was dishonest when correcting, there really is no purpose in correlating a simple homework assignment’s inaccurate grading to a crime, yet some teachers would even go as far as docking points off the person who graded incorrectly. The whole situation calls for unnecessary hassles that could be easily prevented if teachers spent a few extra days grading the work themselves. We wouldn’t mind waiting a couple of days for our scores, right?

While teachers claim that they will go over the corrections afterwards, this makes me question, why couldn’t they have made initial corrections themselves? There really is no point in going back and reviewing the accuracy in students’ grading if they already asked students to spend a good 15 minutes doing it for them during class. Furthermore, if teachers are worried that students might be biased or inaccurate in their grading, they should grade it themselves to save class time and avoid those exact situations.

It’s truly an inconvenience having students grade other students’ work: students lose class time for learning new material and teachers have to risk inaccurate grading incidents that probably happen more often than not. Teachers should be the ones grading papers despite the so-called importance of having students understand why answers are wrong or right and what point values account for certain answers.

By Olivia Chiang, Editor-in-Chief
Editorial Cartoon by Ashley Lin

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