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Question About Grade Recording for the Instructors Out There

  1. Oct 16, 2009 #1
    Thanks to budget cuts the class sizes have increased a lot, which makes the class roster on my excel sheet pretty long. After a couple of hours of looking through students different styles of hand writing, my eyes get a little fuzzy and it makes searching for students names on the spreadsheet difficult.

    For those who use excel, do you use any kind of special functions to input grades. I'm really looking for a way that I can just type in part of the students last name and get an auto complete of his/her entire name. Then from there I can just set that equal to the numerical grade value, which will then be auto assigned to the desired column and row of where the students name is on the list.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 16, 2009 #2

    Moonbear

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    I don't search for student names. I keep them alphabetized, and then alphabetize their assignments after grading before inputting the grades. I think it would take longer to type part of a name, wait for a search query, enter the grade, type a new name, etc., than it is to just sort the papers alphabetically.

    I do have a simple rule that the students MUST write legibly or they don't get any marks. After returning a few papers with big question marks all over them and no points for responses, they got the point and took more care with their handwriting.
     
  4. Oct 17, 2009 #3
    Maybe assign a trigram to every person, as we did in our 'company', the first three letters of the surname, or if the surnames are the same, the first name, or the first letter that's different there. So Joanne Smith is SMA and John Smith is SMH. What you're looking for may be done with Vbasic macros in MS Excel, however this type of work should be done in MS Access.
     
  5. Oct 17, 2009 #4

    Pythagorean

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    I'm a TA, not a full blown instructor, so I'm little experienced, but I have something to say, so I'll say it:

    First time I grade, I just put the names in as I go through the papers in whatever order the papers are in.

    After you do that:

    Select the whole list of names and their corresponding grades
    go to DATA: SORT (on Excel 2007)
    choose ALPHABETICALLY: ASCENDING

    now every time you grade, organize your papers in alphabetical order before you enter grades. You still have to be careful, as some students won't turn in homework so your stack of papers won't necessarily match your Excel column, but it greatly shortens the searching and confirming time and work on your brain, making it that much less stressful.
     
  6. Oct 17, 2009 #5
    I do the same. (If I have graded group work, I download my grading sheet into Excel and resize the font to VERY small... in most cases it's still legible even if I fit the whole class roster on the monitor... then at least it's fairly easy to find the names, even if the assignments can't be alphabetized). If group work is really common in your class (with assigned groups that stay constant) and the class size is huge, you could maybe assign student codes for a group in separate column and sort according to that... then re-sort by alphabetical order when you have tests.

    Hint: when I alphabetize a large class, I first sub-sort the papers into several groups, like A-C, D-F, H-J... etc. Often I have a single subgroup if a particular last letter is common... in one case I think I had at least 12 S's. in a class of 120 or so... and so they got their own subgroup.
     
  7. Oct 17, 2009 #6

    JasonRox

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    I don't even look at assignments that are terribly written. I just give it back with nothing written on it.

    Some people say... how come it isn't marked? I respond... "I didn't want to mark it. Look at it." And then some re-write it, and then I respond... "What's this?", "Oh, I wrote it better this time. Can you mark it now?", "Well I would, but it defeats the purpose because it was due last week which gives you a 0 for being late."

    Yeah, I'm rough. I don't mind though because most have friends that write legibly and they learn quickly that I'm actually an easy marker.

    For inputing marks on the computer, I mark them, and write the marks on a sheet. And then input the data in the school system. That's all. I don't see the need for Excel. Waste of time.
     
  8. Oct 17, 2009 #7
    I usually do the alphabetical order method. I found that alphabetizing every paper took a lot of time, because I would run into snags like unreadable last name, none stapled papers, and students who would interchange the order of their names (last, first or first, last). Since I have the whole NUM pad memorized, I do the same by not looking at the names but just going through every paper in alpha. Then sometimes when I'm done I noticed there's a few empty spaces at the end (then sometimes I have more scores than names). This is usually caused by someone not turning in the assignment, or someone that has not registered in the course yet. This method is usually less stressful for me after the last day to drop has passed.

    Thanks for the responses!
     
  9. Oct 17, 2009 #8
    I wrote a random number generator to do it for me.
     
  10. Oct 17, 2009 #9

    lisab

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    :rofl: Jeez, I wish I had thought of that when I was a grader!
     
  11. Oct 17, 2009 #10
    It really saved time, and none of them knew where my office was to complain :uhh:
     
  12. Oct 18, 2009 #11

    Moonbear

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    If it's really that bad, I'd be highly tempted to take Jason's tips.

    Just leave the unreadable ones out, enter the ones you can read, and if there are more than a couple left to figure out that you can't get it just by looking for the missing scores, I'd just circle their name and write "illegible, so no grade entered" and see how long it takes for them to start making their name more clearly written. I'm usually able to read my students' names. If I can't read their answers, I tell them from day 1 that I don't give credit for chicken scratch. It's the standard "trick" for those who don't know the answer to scribble something illegible and/or ambiguous and hope for partial credit from a generous teacher...I'm not that generous.

    If it's a recurring problem, you could always do something like we used to do for lab reports when I was a TA. The students got points for the various bits of information they needed to include in each section, but then there were 5 points they could lose at the end (out of 30 total, so not a small amount) for things like excessive typos/spelling errors, incorrectly formatting their references, handwriting instead of typing, excessive grammatical errors, and something else...maybe it was formatting.

    If after such warnings, they still write illegibly, consider it might not just be laziness and refer them to whatever office handles testing for learning disabilities. If they do have a learning disability, that'll really help them to get it diagnosed. If they really are just being lazy/careless, perhaps the suggestion that their work indicates a learning disability will finally rattle their cage enough to get them to start trying harder. You won't be the favorite teacher to be a stickler for handwriting and neatness, but you will be helping them in the longer term to instill more careful habits in them.
     
  13. Oct 18, 2009 #12

    Moonbear

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    :rofl: One of my TAs got out of being a grader for someone else by doing something similar. He was just asked to enter grades from an assignment, and most of the grades were perfect scores, so he just pulled out the few that weren't, entered those, then put in a perfect score for everyone else in the class. It never occurred to him that there might be students who didn't turn in the assignment. So, students who didn't do anything had perfect scores released to them. (That's also a lesson for the person who was asking grad students to do grading work for her when they weren't assigned as TAs for her classes.)
     
  14. Oct 18, 2009 #13
    It makes it easy to get the marks curved right too, since I can just put in whatever distribution I want.
     
  15. Oct 18, 2009 #14
    I totally forgot that handwriting can be a hint at a learning disability. A few years ago there was this student who would always doodle or write illegibly on his exams or assignments. Luckily for him the problem was caught early and he was always given about an extra hour for exams.
     
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