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Self Grading For Improved Learning

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

New Engineering Educators: Tricks of the Trade II

Tagged Division

New Engineering Educators

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.1263.1 - 12.1263.11



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Paper Authors


Melani Plett Seattle Pacific Univ

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Melani Plett is an Associate Professor at Seattle Pacific University. Her research interests include engineering education, non-stationary signal processing, biomedical engineering and Christian women engineers

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Donald Peter

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Don Peter is an Associate Professor at Seattle Pacific University. He is particularly interested in discovering ways to improve teaching and learning in electronics.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract


It is well known that timely feedback is important for learning 1, 2. In recent years, educators have been exploring just what form that feedback should take for student homework. The balancing act is between providing fast feedback to the student countered by the labor intensity of providing quality, complete, valuable feedback. Meanwhile the student needs to be motivated to do the hard work of solving the quantity and variety of problems needed for learning, without demoralizing penalties for making mistakes while learning. Further, many professors prefer to use homework scores as a significant portion of the final course grade because it is difficult to test students on such a wide variety of problems.

To achieve these goals, several homework options exist for the professor: traditional homework, homework that is graded online 3, 4, and homework that is assigned but not graded. Each of the various approaches addresses the homework balancing act differently, and each has its drawbacks (Table 1). An alternative approach described in this paper incorporates many of the benefits of these various methods in a manner that enhances student learning: a combination of traditional homework and self-graded homework.

Benefits Drawbacks Traditional • Contributes to the final • Penalty for mistakes homework grade • Time consuming grading • Grade reward provides • Students often do not look at their errors or motivation the solutions • Partial credit possible • Feedback is slow • Minimal motivation for students to correct their mistakes Homework • Immediate feedback • Answers must be in an exact format and the graded • Minimal instructor time student is tied to the computer to do online • Grade reward provides homework motivation • Often no feedback regarding the cause of • Possibly no penalty for errors mistakes • Complete solutions are often not available to the student • Possibly penalty for mistakes • Partial credit not an option Homework • Immediate feedback • Minimal external motivation for the student not graded • Minimal instructor time to do the work • No penalty for mistakes • Often students do not do the work • Allows student to take • Complete solutions are often not made charge of his/her own available to the student learning Table 1.

We have been using this combination approach for four years, and have found it very valuable. A literature search came up empty on this topic, but a web search revealed that several other

Plett, M., & Peter, D. (2007, June), Self Grading For Improved Learning Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--1767

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