Research shows that teachers, specially in middle and high school, spend up to 95 minutes per week on grading papers and preparing classes. That time contributes to a striking 10 hours and 40 minutes of work for teachers, on average, per day.
Of that over hour and a half of work that teachers take home weekly, only part consists of productive and constructive effort, such as planning activities or preparing class material. A big chunk, on the other hand, comprises mostly mechanical and at times repetitive work, such as grading exams. Fortunately, as we will show, technology can already help teachers save up time on the latter.
For grading multiple choice assessments, teachers usually have few choices:
- Grade each test by hand, which tends to be purely mechanical, tedious and error prone;
- Use expensive Optical Mark Recognition machines, like the ones from Scantron;
Recently, thanks to the spreading of increasingly powerful smartphones (both Android and iOS), teachers are presented with a new and interesting grading method:
- Apps that use their own device’s camera to scan and instantly grade multiple choice exams.
SmartGrade is an app for Android and iOS that helps teachers with the tedious process of grading multiple choice exams. By simply pointing a smartphone’s camera to an answer sheet (or bubble sheet), SmartGrade immediately scans and grades that paper.
Using SmartGrade, teachers reportedly shrink the time spent grading to only a few seconds per student. In other words, teachers are able to grade a whole classroom in a few minutes, from start to finish.
Data is king
A quick online search reveals that teachers are increasingly interested in leveraging the richness of students data for providing a more efficient learning experience. Few teachers would deny the usefulness of having a proper statistical picture of how their students are performing.
From a set of students exams answers, teachers can derive incredibly valuable information, such as:
- What are the most problematic questions that can be further developed in the classroom?
- Are the exams and questions difficulties properly calibrated?
- Who are the students that need personal attention?
- Who are the students that can provide help to other students?
- How are students progressing through time across multiple tests?
The interest in this actionable data is evident, although it is often unfeasible to drill down into this data, specially if we recall how little time teachers have left after those almost 11 hours or daily work, on average. Grading apps can often provide teachers with immediate and actionable feedback, as soon as students papers are scanned.
SmartGrade delivers an easy to digest exam analysis, consisting of two dimensions:
- Grades distribution — here teachers can understand the histogram of grades, and analyse how a the group of students performed comparatively;
- Percentage of correct answers by question — how difficult or easy were the exam items for the classroom. Teachers can leverage that data for quickly identifying topics that need refreshing or developing with the students;
An increasing number of teachers is relying on apps to make grading more effective. On top of the time saving, apps such as SmartGrade deliver immediate and actionable feedback, so that teachers can effortlessly reason about the rich data coming from the students answers.