Friday, December 02, 2016

Grading Tutorials #30

For three of my undergraduate modules this semester I set weekly tutorials for students to practice using tools and techniques covered in lectures. They are usually short problems and very often I set real exam questions from past exams for students to tackle.

Nothing unusual about that I hear you say! Tutorials generally  have a reputation for poor attendance, so I decided that my tutorials would become lab work and that students would get credit for completing them. In addition to getting practice at actual exam questions, they get a grade and feedback from me as I often mark them as I would a real exam. 

This year across the three classes there are about 150 students. On average there is usually about a 10% rate of absence, which means there is always a good turnout in class. Students can see their grades adding up for a total Continuous Assessment grade on a week-by-week basis - each is worth about 4% of total mark. Over the three classes, there are about 150 students, so that is an average of about 135 tutorials for me to grade every week. By the end of the semester, I estimate I will have graded about 1,750 tutorials. This is a lot!

Feedback from students is overwhelmingly in favour of this technique. They don't have to do assignments, in-class tests, or projects - just weekly labs. There are about 12-13 in total, so if they miss one or two not too much damage is done. This method works wonders for attendance, and it is gratifying to have good attendance at my classes. One of my tutorials is from 4 to 5 o'clock on Friday afternoons, yet students are brilliant at still coming to class.  Yes - the workload is huge, but I believe it is worth it so that students get the most out of my classes. Some colleagues think I am mad to do this!


  1. This guy is always interesting on feedback

    1. Thanks Greg - interesting stuff!

      I feel another blog post coming!