Grading of essay and short-answer questions
Unlike other assignment answers which are scored automatically by Mastering, your instructor must enter your grade for any essay or short answer (free-form text) you submit. When you submit your essay or short answer, "Submitted, grade pending." appears as answer feedback.
Until your instructor enters a grade for any essay or short answer in an assignment item, a provisional score is applied to the item. This provisional score is meant to be changed by your instructor.
- When the assignment item contains BOTH essay and non-essay questions:
It is provisionally graded as if the essay or short answer parts did not exist. (Normally, all parts in an item contribute equally toward the item score.)
- When the assignment item contains ONLY essay questions:
Your provisional score will be 0% until your instructor grades your work.
The grade for the essay or short-answer item should have changed from 0%.
To check for any grading comments from your instructor:
- Open the assignment.
- Select the item name.
Below the answer box you should see “Graded, see Previous Answers for details.”
- Select Previous Answers to review your answer, score, the instructor who provided the score, and any grading comment.
- Choose Return to Current Item to close the window and return to your view of the item.
Answering essay or short-answer questions
How essay answers are graded
Unlike other student answers in an assignment, essays are not automatically graded by Mastering. Each essay must be graded by an instructor or a section instructor who has the .
Essay questions from the publisher can generally be answered with one or two sentences, and the answer key supplied with each essay question makes the grading process easy. If you assign an item that requires a lengthy essay response
Advise students to compose in a text editor or word processor that allows them to save frequently. If they lose Internet connectivity as they are writing an essay in Mastering, their work is not saved.
If you assign items that contain only essays, be sure to grade the essays before the end of the term. Otherwise, student grades for those items remain zero.
Essay grading process
Essays in an assignment are ignored by Mastering's automatic grading system. The score for the assignment and for any item that contains an essay is calculated as if the essay did not exist.
What students see:
As soon as students submit an essay answer, they see a message alerting them that their answer hasn't been evaluated.
When students complete an assignment that contains an item that includes an essay, they might (depending on the assignment settings) see a result like this illustration, in which the score for the first item (a series of multiple-choice questions, which were graded automatically) is 92%, and the score for the second item (a series of short essays) is 0%.
The pencil icon is displayed, and the pop-up message explains that the score is provisional.
On the Scores page students see the pencil icon next to their assignment score. The pencil icon remains as long as one or more essays in the assignment are not yet graded.
What instructors see:
The following illustration shows what you might see in the Gradebook column for an assignment that contains at least one essay.
In this example, the assignment is not yet due, so all the grade cells are gray. The for-credit item completion thermometers are turned on in Gradebook Preferences, so you can see how much of the assignment each student has completed so far.
Title of the assignment (condensed)
Pencil in the Essays row shows that this assignment contains an essay
2=Possible points for this assignment (1 point each for 2 items)
1.2=Current class average (only for completed and scored portions of the assignment)
Activity for students 1 through 5:
On a student's Scores page or Assignment Grade page, you see all provisional scores signified by the pencil icon.
Overview: Enter a percentage Score, add an optional Comment, and then click Save for each student essay, or grade several essays and click Save All.
Save frequently to prevent losing any work if your Internet connection is interrupted, or if you step away and your Mastering session times out.
Open a list of gradable essay items by clicking the pencil icon.
- From the Assignments Calendar View or List View: Click an assignment title (with a pencil), and then click Grade Essays from the Actions list; or click and choose Grade Essays.
From the Gradebook: Click a pencil icon as follows:
To see essay items for Click a pencil icon A specific assignment In the column for the assignment, or next to a student's provisional score on another page The entire course At the top of the Total column, next to the see all link
On the Essays page, click an item title link in any row that shows one or more Ungraded essays.
[Optional] Filter the display to show Ungraded Essays Only. To view student names as you grade, clear the Hide student names check box.
- [Optional] To review the essay question and its context, click .
Compare the Answer Key (if provided) with the student answer and enter a grade in the Score box from 0 to 100.
[Optional] Enter a Comment to give feedback to the student about the essay answer.
You can't save a comment unless you have entered a score.
Click Save, or grade several essays and click Save All.
- The score and comment, if any, are saved, together with your name and the date and time.
- The student who submitted the essay can see the score and comment unless you have temporarily hidden assignment scores for this assignment (see the Tip below).
- The Save button name changes to Change Grade, which allows you to revise the score and comment later.
If you are concerned about students seeing scores and comments that you are likely to change after you have read all essays, consider hiding scores for this assignment until you have finished grading the essays. To temporarily hide scores from students:
On the assignment's Overview page, click Edit Grading and Presentation Settings. For Show Assignment Score, select Never, and then click Save. Remember to change this setting again when you are ready for students to see their scores.
You can change the score or comment for a student essay answer at any time.
- With the Essays page open (using steps 1 and 2 in the previous procedure), click the item title for which you want to reconsider the essay grades.
- [Optional] Filter the display to show Graded Essays Only.
- Click Change Grade for any score or comment you want to change.
Enter your changes, and then click Save for each student answer, or regrade several essays and click Save All.
- The new score and comment, if any, are saved, together with your name and the new date and time.
- The student who submitted the essay can see the new score and comment unless you have temporarily hidden assignment scores for this assignment (see the Tip in the previous section).
- The Save button name changes again to Change Grade, which allows you to revise the score and comment again.