Collection vs. Correction
After teaching math in middle school for many years, I have come up with a system that works well for grading homework. There are two types of homework assignments: those I collect to grade and the correction grade paper. Those I collect are the reviews before a test, so I can see if the students are ready and in what areas they are weak.
The other pages are corrected by the students, but with a little procedure. First I ask them to pull out their homework assignment. I walk around the room to verify that it is finished, and work is shown. Then I tell the students they have the opportunity to earn an A, B, or C by correcting their errors by redoing the problems they missed and also by explaining their errors.
When the papers are handed in, I read their explanations, which now determine the grade. Explanations are brief and say things like, “I forgot to count over the decimal places when I multiplied” or “I added unlike denominators instead of finding GCFs.” Then I glance over the corrections to see if it looks ok. The papers are more revealing of what they are learning and give me a greater understanding of how the children are thinking. Students with no errors are given a 100% and are able to get started on the next day’s assignment. Sometimes they have to write a summary of the basic concept, so I am really sure they do understand what is going on.
I would say I correct 70% of the papers in this manner. It takes far less time to correct, and is far more interesting. Also, since writing is required across our curriculum, that standard is addressed. I grade all quizzes and tests and reviews on my own, and when these papers are handed back, students must correct their errors and explain what they did wrong, working with partners or in small groups.