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Is it advisable (in terms of the benefit for the students and the work it causes) to make the grading completely transparent to students? I think for instance of publishing the sample solutions for the exam or the distribution of the grades given. Would those measures be suitable to convince the students that the grading is fair or would it rather make worse students feel treated in an unfair way and trigger many complaints? As far as I understand the University now normally lets the students only see their individual grades. Of course they will always compare themselves in smaller groups.

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    Double-edged sword. With a transparent grading system, you will get people who will nickel and dime EVERY QUESTION to get an extra point out. If you make it transparent, you had better make it watertight transparent. – Compass Dec 11 '14 at 19:45
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    There was a similar question a little while ago, and one of the answer (by @BrianBorchers )correctly points out: Don't release the rubric unless you're really willing to give credit according to the rubric even if a paper has obvious flaws in areas not covered by the rubric. (the answer is here academia.stackexchange.com/questions/30601/…) – Ant Dec 11 '14 at 22:20
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    In the class I TA (programming), we don't have a tests, instead the students are given practical assignment. To promote the transparency, we publish "error cheat sheet". At the start every student has full score, I then go through his code and for every violation in cheat sheet subtract the relevant points. It works well, but I undesrtand it's rather specific. – jnovacho Dec 12 '14 at 7:58
  • I religiously release solutions, rubrics, and grade distributions for my exams. As others have said, the detailed rubrics make grading easier and fairer, and oublishing them cuts way down on complaints and regrade requests. – JeffE Dec 12 '14 at 12:43
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Transparency is great, when you can do it. Many of my large undergraduate classes would show a score histogram for every major quiz or exam, and some would explicitly give the grading rubric. This was generally very much appreciated by the students for exactly the reasons you give: better understanding of how they stand and why they got the scores they got, letting them judge fairness and know when to reasonably object (which sometimes happened).

From the TA side, my experience was that transparency actually decreased my work, because it meant that I didn't need to deal with many spurious complaints, and that many of the complaints could be resolved directly through reference to the rubric.

  • When can't you do it? – JeffE Dec 12 '14 at 12:44
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    @JeffE I can't think of a time, but one of the things I've been learning on this site is that there are a lot of institutions that behave in ways that seem awfully odd to me... – jakebeal Dec 12 '14 at 22:52
  • @JeffE: When grading essay answers (sometimes). – Joshua Nov 23 '15 at 19:58

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