Assignments and Marks Management


-every university will have its own specific definition for this infraction of academic honesty and there will be different consequences for student and therefore different responsibilities for the instructor. Check your university’s website for details.

Types of Assignments:


initial short essay: often used to get a “take” on students’ writing tics and characteristic errors to use as a baseline to check for plagiarism later, but also to learn about students’ needs

quiz: factual; quickly graded or student-graded; (allow no make-ups, but lowest grade might be dropped)

in-class essay: helps to avoid problems with plagiarism; you may or may not give questions beforehand;

test: short answer and/or short essay

final examination: effective exam design-see sample exams from your department for advice on length and kind of question.  Some options: tell them you will “drop” exam questions—“think about x or y…”—during the year, a reward for attending class; hand out a list of technical terms or significant cultural references at the start of the year and say you will be defining each one during the year’s classes, and that it’s their responsibility to catch them, for they will be on the exam in some form.

Outside class:

-take-home exam: avoids using class time

-essay: have firm deadlines; explain your required format; teach them about plagiarism vs. “concocting” or bad note-taking; tell them an oral defence of the essay may be required (to discover if it has been purchased); avoid lost papers by having them submitted to and picked up directly from you.

Marks Management:

-use a simple spreadsheet programme to keep track of marks

-leave an arithmetic trail (grades in numbers)–appeals happen, and you are responsible for justifying your grades

-keep careful records of student numbers and names, section numbers, course numbers, grades (for each assignment; final)

-make categories self-evident: which assignments go with which grades?

-keep codes clear: percentages? out of 10? letter-grades?

-always double-check

Linda Hutcheon