Chronicle Review: How to Escape Grading Jail


Kevin Gannon writes about escaping “grading jail”, a terrible experience for teaching assistants who have to grade student work in college, offering 3 solutions to escape it. What’s interesting is that the solutions that he offers, are also possible solutions for students to avoid the crush of work, and stay on top of academic work. While grades don’t necessarily determine success in life, good grades certainly open doors to opportunities that aren’t available to mediocre students; after all, the best will pick the best, and what better way to reveal your own quality as an individual without an interview, than through your grades? Here’s my take on how the 3 solutions he offers aapplyto students who want to escape the jail of mediocrity:

  1. Schedule your Academic Calendar

Ever so often, students feel the pressure to complete assignments only when deadlines are rushing near. In my own experience as a college student a decade ago, I too needed deadlines to draw near before I could pressure myself to begin work. Unfortunately, this led to several B grades, sub-par work, and a whole lot of stress and sleepless nights.

Scheduling your Academic Calendar, and setting your own deadlines gives you freedom in 2 ways: you build a habit of completing tasks on time, and you actually have more time to enjoy yourself in other pursuits. Completing tasks on time is part and parcel of what it means to be effective at work. Nobody likes a delay, and nobody likes late work either. Once that’s scheduled, completed, and out of the way, you can fully devote yourself to being present in other pursuits, be it time with family, friends, or even just to relax without worrying about having that undone essay nagging you at the back of your mind.

  1. Understanding Rubrics

Ever so often students fall into the trap of spending hours and hours on work, without understanding the rubrics, or grading criteria of assignments. What is the assignment about, and how will it be scored? By understanding what the teaching assistants/professors are looking for in your work, you can better angle and attempt your work to demonstrate understanding of the subjects and quality of thinking. When you understand that rubrics are around to help you focus and maximise your learning, you save lots of study and assignment time, giving you more freedom to explore college life. If the professor tells you that the mid-term exam is only on 2 topics, with a focus on 2 types of questions, prepare for this exam by attempting only these 2 topics, expressed in the form of these 2 questions. Reading a textbook from front to back isn’t going to help you as much, and it will take way too much time.

  1. Using text-to-speech

Students can explore the wonders of text-to-speech software in getting work done. If you have an essay due, sometimes the best way isn’t to just set aside a time to brainstorm and churn. By recording your conversations with classmates, or random thoughts about the subject while travelling or studying, you ignite other parts of your brain that can facilitate learning. Studies show that most learners are either auditory, visual, or kinesthetic, and recording your thoughts as you move around can ignite both your auditory and kinesthetic faculties, which can save time and help you create superior work

These 3 ideas are just a few hacks that students at LMI learn in their journey to an excellent academic career. To find out more about how you can save time and achieve academic excellence, contact LMI today!

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