Learning research recommends many low-stakes hands-on exercises, with individual formative feedback. That’s difficult. It means manual grading of up to 2,000 submissions per semester, for a 40-50 student section.

Skilling’s feedback system is the answer.

You make rubrics for each exercise.

Exercise with rubric items

You write canned responses for each rubric item, turned into clickables for grading. For example, here are responses for one item.

Rubric item responses

Graders evaluate student work. Who are graders?

  • Instructors could do their own grading.

  • Graders could be students who’ve already taken the course. This has been common practice for decades.

  • Graders could be casual workers, working remotely, anywhere in the world.

Graders evaluate every student’s work, on every exercise, and give them personal feedback. No, really! It can be done!

Here’s what a grader might see, when starting to grade a submission.

Ready to grade

Each rubric item becomes a dropdown, with the item’s responses as clickables. Graders click on responses that apply to the student’s work.

Two responses chosen

Grading is fast, and easy. Having canned responses makes assessment consistent across graders, although graders can add responses they think are missing. That’s the + button in the lower right.

When each rubric item is assessed, graders decide whether the submission is complete.

Submission graded

I use mastery grading, so exercises are complete only when each rubric item is satisfied. However, I allow students to resubmit, giving them a chance to learn from their mistakes. You choose your own policy.

The grader clicks a button that turns their assessment into text for the student.

Feedback message

(This one is for a different exercise.)

The grader can modify the message if they want, adding extra advice, though usually there is no need. The grader clicks a button to send the message to the student.

Not all data in the messages comes from the rubric item responses, like the greeting (“G’day”), the summary (“Needs work”), and the signature (“Kieran the Bold”). They come from the grader’s persona. The persona is a set of greetings, summaries, etc, that Skilling chooses from when creating the message. Graders can make relaxed personas (like mine), formal personas, whatever suits the relationship they want with students.

Grading is fast. A simple exercise might take one minute to grade. A complex one, up to five minutes.

This is why Skilling rocks

The research is clear: formative feedback is critical in skill learning. It’s not optional. Skilling has tools making personal formative feedback practical, at scale.