Improved pedagogy enabled by assessment using gradescope

Sara A. Atwood, Elizabethtown College
Arjun Singh, Gradescope


As engineering educators, one of our most important, but often least liked, roles is that of grader: creating assignments to develop and measure proficiency on fundamental skills, providing effective feedback on those assignments, and assigning a fair and meaningful grade representing achievement. In our role as graders, we must often balance our desire to provide the most formative practice-feedback experience with the amount of time it takes to grade. The web-based tool Gradescope supports grading quickly, equitably, and flexibly while providing detailed formative feedback to students. I have used this rubric-based digital grading tool on exams in two upper-level mechanical engineering courses over two successive cohorts and want to share key features that may appeal to both new and experienced engineering educators to support improved pedagogy. These include the ability to: • grade student submissions online in any location, • change the point value associated with a particular mistake once and apply to the entire population, • quickly reference similar mistakes instead of rewriting the same comment, • retain a digital record of the student work, and • return feedback digitally outside of classroom time. The online rubric-based grading tool can facilitate feedback that is prompt, equitable, explanatory and formative. Such tools can inform opportunities to re-teach and re-test in a learning outcomes-based environment. Finally, these tools may streamline the process of sampling for ABET outcomes assessment. Using this model, engineering educators can transform how effectively they grade and give feedback in their courses.