Drafting Checklists

I’ve always struggled with marking drafts. The fact that the feedback needs to happen quickly, be easily understood, and help students to know whether they’re on the right track makes it all a bit hard when you’ve got 80 + drafts to do in a week. I’ve tried:

  • Hand written comments
  • Verbal feedback = both recorded and in one-on-one conferencing
  • Emailed and typed feedback

This term, I tried something that our science department (thank you for sharing!) has been doing, and it was the fastest I’ve ever gotten through my drafts. I marked 80 drafts in under 5 hours – this was previously unheard of – AND I feel my feedback is the best I’ve given because I didn’t fatigue quickly, or get bored. How did I do it? I used a checklist system.

Checklist #1: Given to students at beginning of assessment task for them to tick off as they work through their report. As this is the first report they do for geography, it was important to me that they be taught how to set it out properly.

Screen Shot 2018-09-04 at 2.29.43 pm
Checklist given to students at beginning of the task.


Checklist #2: Used by me to provide feedback on the draft – note how the specific things I’m looking for directly line up with what is required in Checklist #1.

Screen Shot 2018-09-04 at 10.28.24 am
Checklist used for providing feedback on drafts

At first, I felt a bit guilty about not giving my usual amount of feedback, but I figured that this should be viewed more as a progress report for students and if they wanted more in-depth feedback, then they could make a time to conference with me. It allows me to get their feedback back to them quickly, and for those that need minimal assistance to get on with the job faster. It also forces students to accept responsibility for their learning. By marking a No or Partial against an item, the student then needs to either see me about it or refer back to the original checklist, task, or criteria sheet. I know that there are a few that I will need to follow up with, but on the whole I am confident that this system will work.

This new way of marking drafts has revolutionised the way I think about giving feedback – it certainly allows me to do it in a more timely manner. I’m now thinking about ways of using this checklist system for self- and peer-feedback in future assessment tasks.

If you have any other new and quick ways to give feedback, I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

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