July 27, 2023

Benefits of using a Digital Grading Platform to Evaluate Student Learning

Manjinder Kainth, PhD

Teaching, lecturing, research, writing references, reviewing journal papers, dealing with endless admin. Academics, today, face many demands on their time. They’re being asked to be more available outside class and provide more one-on-one attention to students. A piece in the Times Higher Education magazine, last August, stated that “overworked academics ‘give away one-third of their time’”.

And then there’s marking and assessment!

Let’s look at how making good use of a digital grading platform can ease the burden, improve the experience for everyone involved, and help with:

📌 accuracy

🤝 engagement

🎓 collaboration

 In a nutshell

Putting the “AI” into grAIding to “aid” educators, Graide interfaces with Replay Grading to reduce educator workload. The platform is designed with simplicity in mind. No programming is required. It’s as simple as clicking or drawing regions and typing the relevant feedback. Sitting on your shoulder, as it were, Graide learns how you mark and replicates it at scale.

The benefits are significant.

Improved accuracy

Automation ensures accuracy, the cornerstone of assessment. We all know and accept that marking inconsistencies can occur over time. And having more than one marker only increases the likelihood of this. Furthermore, the sheer volume of marking can lead to “clerical errors”.  Graide, however, marks in the same way, every single time.

Integrating with leading learning management systems (LMS) such as Canvas, Blackboard, and Moodle, Graide also provides educators with comprehensive data and analytics on student performance. Using powerful analytic tools, it is able to collate results and help identify patterns or anomalies in students’ performance. That way, problems are spotted early on and addressed promptly, and instructional practice can be later reviewed accordingly.

Increased student engagement

Students expect and deserve an assessment which is accurate: i.e. free from subjectivity and human error. They also want detailed quality feedback, to show them the way. Thoughtful, accurate feedback provides the road map for future improvement. Studying without this is like driving blindfolded, with only occasional glimpses of the road to course-correct. Regular, consistent, detailed grading and feedback are fundamental to student learning. They also take time.

Using a grading platform speeds up every stage of the process, from submission, marking, and feedback. Submission of student work is effectively instantaneous. Gone are the days of handing in work physically, a boon to everyone involved, especially those students with access or mobility issues.

And not having to mark the same type of answer twice speeds up grading for teachers!

In fact, the median grading times were reduced by 74%, and the number of words of feedback given increased by a factor of 7.2, when we compared grading on paper to the Graide platform. We also estimated that a university, with 3500 STEM students, using Graide could save over £240,000 a year.

University of Birmingham - Graide Efficacy Research

Getting marking off your desk double quick is always a nice feeling, but it is also fundamental to student learning. For marking and feedback, time is of the essence. It is no good if the student has forgotten or “moved on” in their minds from the assessment. Feedback is far more effective when the work is fresh in their minds, and they are still emotionally involved or committed. University policies commonly stipulate feedback within two to three weeks. As a student, I wanted my work back yesterday!

Graide enables that.

When students see the immediate feedback given by a digital grading system, they can quickly  enjoy successes, identify strengths, and address areas for improvement. They can act quickly, with the help of their teachers, to put things right. Speeding up this process indubitably minimises uncertainty and stress for students.

Easier collaboration

Student learning is a team sport, a shared endeavour. If everyone is pulling in the same direction,  progress can be swift and that, in turn, can be motivating.

Working with paper scripts can slow down the process, for instance, when there is more than one marker and time is lost waiting for the other one to finish their section. With a grading platform, scripts can be marked in parallel.

Better still, teachers, students, and administrators can review or discuss student projects or assessments in real-time online.

To learn more on how Graide supports student learning. Book a clarity call here

Final thoughts

With the increasing functionality and power of AI, automating some of the marking process makes irrefutable good sense. Enabling Replay Grading, rapid feedback, and streamlined communication, Graide frees up time for educators to focus on other tasks. Digital solutions don’t suit every assessment challenge, but delegating much of the marking process to AI frees up staff hours that can be better spent on the assessment that needs a more direct human approach. That and the teaching and lecturing and research and writing references and reviewing journal papers and the myriad other responsibilities that come with academia.

Further reading

Using grading as a tool for learning | Graide


Manjinder Kainth, PhD
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I’ve been intricately involved in teaching for many years. I have over 6 years of private tutoring experience, taught in higher education, and most recently worked on designing and delivering crash courses for a high school.