Profhacker did it again. It helped make my teaching life better. This semester I began grading using Google Forms and I am in love. I teach online and even when I teach a traditional face-to-face class I teach paperless. For years I would create a scoring guide in a Word document and bounce back and forth between the two documents highlighting and adding comments to both. Sometimes I would copy and paste the scoring guide at the end of the paper. Sometimes I would have the student copy and paste the scoring guide at the end of the paper and complete a self-evaluation to which I would add my evaluation. It was a cumbersome process that is now all in the past.
Amy Cavender’s “Using Google Docs For Grading” and Andrew Cullison’s “Grade Student Papers Using Google Forms” inspired me to rethink my old methods. This semester I have used a Google form to grade all my major assignments. I have always used a scoring guide or rubric so I already had a framework to work with. I followed Cullison’s instructions for setting up my form, but I wasn’t satisfied with his solution for sharing the feedback.
My hack was inspired by Amy Cavender’s “From the Archives: Google in the Writing Classroom.” I create a second tab in the response spreadsheet with the same headers and I added two columns at the end. One for a total of the points and one to calculate the actual points I will input into Blackboard. Then I copy and paste the row for the current student into that tab and do a quick “save as pdf” using the print command. I then have a number to input into the Blackboard gradebook with no calculation necessary and I can attach the pdf to the comments. I love that the pdf includes my comments as well as a score for all the items. After completing the form for the next student I copy and paste their numbers over the previous students, save, and post as before.
I have found this grading process easy and fast. I keep the form open in the background as I review the assignment and grading is as easy as click, click, click! I can add comments to the box as I go and make any final comments before submitting. The final processing I describe above takes only moments once I have the response spreadsheet set up. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. Give it a try and let me know if you love it too!
Oh, and there is a bonus payoff! As my current class is a first year seminar with institutional requirements for assessment spreadsheets reporting student performance on key learner outcomes I can simply copy and paste from my existing spreadsheets into the standard forms provided by the assessment officer. This should save hours of aggravation at the end of the semester.
UPDATE: I just submitted my final grades and I am still in love with grading with Google forms – if anything more so after completing the multi-sheet student learner outcome assessment data collection excel document required by my institution. It was super easy to transfer the numbers from my excel sheets to the required form. Not quite as easy as copy and paste because I didn’t immediately realize how to handle the students who hadn’t completed the assignments but in the future I will simply compete blank score sheets for those students and I will be able to copy and paste. Woo hoo!