Essay marking can be one of the most exciting, challenging and rewarding tasks that teachers and professors experience. Essay marking is an extremely important aspect of the educational process, as it is instrumental in the student evaluation process. There are many unique and different ways of marking essays; some models prove more effective. Teachers and professors are always encouraged to seek the best practice in essay marking.
The web site readwritethink.org offers an “Essay rubric” for marking essays.
Its five key components are “focus and details”, “organization”, “voice”, “word choice”, “sentence structure, grammar, mechanics and spelling”. This particular essay rubric functions with a scale of 4 to 1, the highest proficiency level as the highest number. Note that it also allows room for individual comments, suggestions or questions along with the suggested guidelines.
Because there are so many different models for essay marking, it is important that teachers, professors and students become familiar with the particular rubric or model used for marking by their own academic setting. For students, this offers an example of essay writing skills and the marking scheme. It allows an opportunity for self-assessment of essays and increases the possibility of potential improvement before essay submission.
Consistency in marking essays is vital for academic evaluation and comparative purposes, but at the same time, some degree of flexibility is an essential component in the practice of marking essays. New thought and ideas should be encouraged rather than stifled, even when knowledge of course content is more important.
It is not always easy for teachers or professors to look past spelling errors or grammatical concerns when marking essays, but there are times when the focus, organization and voice in an essay exceeds other issues related to writing properly. There are also times when it is advisable to recommend a tutor or a writing program for students who encounter difficulty with writing essays.
Time is a major concern for teachers and professors who are marking essays. Students may have the opportunity to read or mark their peer’s essays, although the final responsibility for this lies in the hands of the teacher or professor. Mentors, tutors and assistant teachers or professors prove helpful when it comes to marking large numbers of student essays.
One essay that meets the criterion for an essay may set an example for comparative purposes, which also saves valuable marking time. As long as there are students, teachers and professors, there will be essays that need consistent, accurate marking which requires those involved to be aware of the best principles and practices in marking essays.