June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
26.667.1 - 26.667.12
Enhancing TA Grading of Technical Writing: A Look Back to Better Understand the FutureTechnical writing is an important skill in all engineering disciplines. Many first-yearengineering programs (FYEPs) include technical writing as one of their core course componentsto begin to instill the importance of and to develop this skill early in aspiring engineers. In orderto assess student learning and provide feedback on technical writing, proper grading of theseassignments is essential. This paper will present the preliminary assessment results of a newgrading training program for teaching assistants (TAs) in a FYEP that was implemented at alarge land grant institution while situating the findings in past research related to grading ofwriting assignments and preparing TAs.To better understand past and current efforts in this area, we have detailed our TA gradingtraining for technical writing over the past few years below. Prior to Autumn 2013, the gradingtraining typically consisted of a single, two hour session at the beginning of the semester wherethe TAs worked through grading of a sample report in groups. After this session, TAs were onlyapproached again if there were major anomalies noted in their grading. In Autumn 2013, a pilotgrading training program was implemented in order to further improve the grading of technicalwriting and to help promote consistency in scores and feedback to the students. While this pilotgrading training program was successful, there were still improvements that could have beenmade. Finally, in Autumn 2014, a new grading training program was fully implemented thatconsisted of creating a set of baseline graded writing assignments that were used to help calibrateeach TA’s grading. After providing the TAs feedback on how their scores compared, theygraded another set of assignments and again feedback was provided. A follow-up trainingsession was then held for those TAs that still did not score within the acceptable range.This paper will summarize the approach used to enhance the grading of TAs that was brieflydiscussed above. We will supplement this with qualitative results from a series of focus groupsthat were used to assess the training. Finally, we will provide recommendations or “Tricks of theTrade” for TAs who may be grading technical writing and those who are responsible for trainingTAs for this type of grading.
Kecskemety, K. M., & Theiss, A. H., & Kajfez, R. L. (2015, June), Enhancing TA Grading of Technical Writing: A Look Back to Better Understand the Future Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24005
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