8 Marking

By the end of this chapter, you will be ready to mark assessments fairly and consistently, including assignments, midterms, final exams.

In this chapter

Before you start marking

When you start your TA contract, be sure to put the assessments’ timelines and key due dates in your calendar. The syllabus will have information about those assessments and you can as the professor for their deadline for completing the marking after each assessment.

You might be involved in a number of types of marking, including assignments, quizzes, midterm, lab reports and final exams. They all share common elements: (i) a marking scheme or rubric, (ii) marking fairly and consistently, (iii) returning work promptly, and (iv) giving feedback with positive tone.

Before you start marking:

  • Review the marking scheme or rubric and ask questions.
  • Discuss with professor about what kinds of feedback should be given to students, timelines, and marking methods.
  • Ask students to submit files in a consistent format, such as: “last name_student number_Year-Month-Day_Assessment type” (Shapiro_2283392_2020-06-01_LabReport1)
  • Decide ahead of time how you will make and save comments and marks. For example, you can add feedback directly in Brightspace, you can annotate PDFs (test that file formats are readable between different formats), use an app (e.g., Notability or Drawboard) to annotate the PDF, and re-upload, or use a grading software such as Crowdmark.
Remember that students’ names and student numbers are private and you should only use and store them according to university and provincial privacy rules (FIPPA). Delete student data once you have shared the data back with the professor and the course is complete.

During marking

  • We are often grading dozens if not hundreds of exams or labs, making it very important that each marker and section is consistent and fair to students.
  • If you are giving feedback, use clear, fair, and objective language: avoid capital letters (seems like you’re shouting), exclamation marks, or other marking that can be interpreting as insulting to students. An error is an error, not an opportunity to insult, demotivate, or frustrate the student saying something like “WHAT COULD YOU HAVE BEEN THINKING?!” Imagine that the person is in the room with you and wants to hear advice that would help them improve.
  • The professor may mark with you, may ask you to check in periodically, or may simply ask you to let them know when you have completed the marking.
    • Either way, be sure to ask any questions you have along the way. If you end up having a different interpretation of the marking scheme or have made an error, you may end up remarking all those exams on your own time.
  • If you are marking submission in Brightspace, you can create and add the marking scheme (rubric) right into Brightspace.
  • Some professors may use Crowdmark, an online grading system. The site itself has explanations for use.
  • Assume that students are motivated to do well in the course and will use your feedback to improve. Not all will, but your efforts will help those who are invested in their learning.

After marking

  • If you are entering the marks, clarify whether these should be done directly in Brightspace or in a separate document (e.g., Excel).
  • Clarify how any student requests for regrading or feedback should be handled.
  • If you are saving files locally,  be sure to delete the data once grades have been submitted.

Up next

The next chapter contains resources that may be useful during your work as a TA.

Please feel free to contact us at any time with questions, suggestions, and concerns. In particular, we check this form weekly and will continue to update this guide as the situation evolves.


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Remote teaching: a guide for teaching assistants Copyright © by Meredith Allen; Alisha Szozda; Jeremy Kerr; and Alison Flynn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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