In my country, many institutes have the custom of TAs evaluating and distributing the marks of students of that particular course the TA is handling.

I am wondering whether it is a part of academic culture in the US or not.

  • 2
    May depend on the institution or even the professor. Certainly I graded and released grades for my sections.
    – Jon Custer
    Sep 29, 2020 at 17:19
  • I am not sure what a TA would do if they didn't do these things? Sep 29, 2020 at 17:22
  • Also, not sure the title matches the body Sep 29, 2020 at 17:22
  • 1
    @AzorAhai--hehim TA can prepare presentations, frame questions, do a textbook reading, take small lectures, etc.,
    – hanugm
    Sep 29, 2020 at 17:26
  • 1
    @hanugm In my experience, TAs led small review sections, graded, and generally answered questions in office hours or by email. Not sure what frame questions or textbook readings means. I have never heard of a TA preparing presentations. In my field, that would be pretty inappropriate, unless it was like a single lecture or two on the TA's specialty. Sep 29, 2020 at 18:22

3 Answers 3


Yes, this is common in the United States.

With the assumption that "Evaluate the answer sheets" means "Grades assignments/projects/exams"

In both my undergrad and graduate studies and personal experience as a TA, assignments/projects/exams were often graded by a TA.

In my experience I've found that a Professor will generally only participate in the grading process when:

  1. The subject is very specialized. i.e. a semester project, or something that aligns with a professors specialty

  2. The amount of student in the class is very low (< 50). Many of my smaller undergraduate classes were graded by professors either exclusively or in conjunction with TAs.

If we look at something like Penn State's School of Science TA Info Page they specifically list grading a a responsibility of a TA. This responsibility along with the prerequisite that the TA either took that class and did well previously or has extensive knowledge of the subject is very common across Universities in the United States.

You also mention that a TA would "prepare presentations, frame questions, do a textbook reading, take small lectures" This can also be true, but varies more between professors than the position as a whole.

  • 5
    When I was a TA, grading student assignments was the majority of my job.
    – user4574
    Sep 30, 2020 at 2:59
  • I'd note that the page you linked seems to be talking about undergraduate TAs specifically. Not that it makes any difference to your answer, but I could imagine an occasional person getting hung up on that.
    – David Z
    Sep 30, 2020 at 6:42

While not universal in the US, TAs often grade student assignments and give the papers back to the students in a small group (section). Even exams, which might be graded jointly by all the TAs (one or two questions each for all papers), might have the papers handed back by individual TAs.

Of course, electronic marking is sometimes used and students sometimes get their marks directly from an automated system.

But the TA is often expected to have some knowledge of the progress of students in their section, so seeing the grades (and comments) is pretty common.

The professor, who is ultimately responsible for grading, will probably prepare grading rubrics for the TAs and will handle special cases on request, either from the TA or a student.


I think a lot of it depends on the size of the institution and whether there is a graduate program in that subject at the particular university.

At a R1 institution (major university), you could expect to have a graduate student or upper division undergraduate student grading your work in introductory courses.

At smaller regional schools and community colleges, it is fairly uncommon to have teaching assistants or funds for graders, so the professor grades the majority of the student work.

  • I have never heard of an undergraduate grading underclassmen homework.
    – user117751
    Sep 30, 2020 at 4:03
  • I got to grade the undergraduate statistics course at my school during my junior and senior years. Of course that was back in the 1980's. The graduate students at that time typically lectured the Calculus sections under the direction of a professor. Sep 30, 2020 at 4:22
  • @CL40 It happens, usually for very introductory courses Sep 30, 2020 at 5:06

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