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Lesson 4: Grading and Feedback

Getting started with grading and feedback

Grading and feedback play an important role in the student learning process. Learning often focuses on lasting change in knowledge, beliefs, behavior, attitudes and how students interpret and respond to their own experiences. Both grading and feedback provide insight and direction in student learning and development (Ambrose et al., 2010, Baleni, 2015; Boud & Falchikov, 2006).


Grading is used to determine the extent to which a student has reached a level of achievement, to provide a grade, inform instructional practices, and identify gaps in student learning. In any learning environment, there are some considerations to consider:

  • Ensure students are clear about the assignment expectations, alignment to course learning outcomes, and purpose to prevent out-of-scope student work.
  • If students use software that requires accounts or special software, make sure you can access their work or require them to submit it in a common format (i.e., MS Word or PDF).
  • Use a rubric for both efficient grading and providing feedback.
  • Meet with TAs to calibrate grading, use of rubrics, and feedback to students.


Meaningful feedback can enhance student engagement, influence motivation, and encourage self-directed learning (Evans, 2013; Pereira et al., 2016).

Feedback strategies to enhance student learning:

  • Automate feedback where possible: D2L/Brightspace quizzes questions such as multiple-choice, multiple answer, and true or false can be automatically graded with immediate feedback. Such quizzes can be used for short formative tests throughout the course that also provide the instructor with valuable feedback on student learning.
  • Leverage different formats of feedback: Options include video or audio feedback (Brown, 2019). D2L/Brightspace has video/audio ability or use more robust video software like YuJa or Zoom to record real-time feedback with document mark-up and showing students the completed rubric. This approach can also foster a sense of connection between the student and the instructor.
  • Leverage peer feedback: In small groups or pairs, students can provide feedback on each other’s work. Consider giving students the assignment rubric or specific criteria/questions to guide their comments.
  • Create an FAQ discussion forum: When you receive common questions about the assignment or need to provide common feedback, post your answers into a D2L/Brightspace discussion for all students to have access to.
  • Use rubrics: You can either attach a rubric to an assignment or create a rubric in D2L/Brightspace to provide guidance to students but also to provide efficient feedback, especially for common feedback. By having students submit their assignment in D2L/Brightspace advantage of the rubric feature to provide feedback to students.
  • Provide collective feedback during class time or on D2L/Brightspace: Address common qualities of successful student work and issues that several students encountered while completing the assessment.
  • Have 1:1 conversations: Engage in conversation about feedback for individual students. Have set office hours either in person or online for individual feedback.
  • Schedule time to share feedback: Higher education courses progress quickly so try to be timely with feedback and provide opportunities for students to apply feedback to subsequent assessments.

Lesson checklist

  • Consider the role of feedback in student learning and engagement
  • Apply effective grading strategies to collect and grade student work
  • View rubric examples and identify how best to use rubrics for grading and feedback
  • Create a rubric for an assessment


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