Try Specs Grading

Time required: Varies

Grading: NA

Disciplines: All

Why: Using detailed specifications and an all or nothing grading scheme teaches students accountability and saves grading time.  This mimics a common workplace scenario in which an employee is expected to successfully complete an entire task or piece of work at the required level of quality and detail.

How: Develop a list of assignment criteria that you want students to meet.  Be as clear and detailed as possible in presenting the specifications of a successful piece of work.  Then grade work as “Meets Expectations” (full points) or “Does Not Meet Expectations” (zero points), with no partial credit awarded. 

  • Be sure to include a mechanism for resubmission
    • One strategy would be to issue students electronic “tokens” at the beginning of the semester that can be redeemed to resubmit a task

From Small Teaching Online by Flower Darby with James M. Lang, pp. 168-171