Physics & Physical Science Demos, Labs, & Projects for High School Teachers

Lab Grading Sheet

Posted on: November 23, 2009

If you grade labs, you probably struggle for consistency and simplicity in grading those beasts.  I know I do.  I’ve come up with a more simple plan through a series of iterations.

I make up these little score sheets, they run nine to a page.  The idea is simple; the lab is worth 25 points.  Each problem is a deduction of usually one or two points.  I grade on the score sheet, then staple or glue the sheet to the lab.  I find that the feedback of lost points gives them a clear indication of what to fix for next time.

I like a 25 point lab for a number of reasons.  I tell the kids, every lab starts at an A+.  Each point deduction drops the grade by one third of a grade.  So a one-point deduction drops an A+ to an A, where a two-point deduction drops an A+ to an A-.  This system lets me choose a value for a section, so if there is a lot of calculations and graphing in the analysis section, I can make omission of the work worth a full grade with a deduction of three points.  I don’t take late work unless they were absent, so not handing in a lab isn’t fatal, but it hurts.  A 25-point lab is also a good buffer for bad quiz and test grades.

I have played with this over the last couple of years.  My first lab or two of the year I grade holistically, I get a feel for what I think it deserves.  Then I go back and count where I would have given deductions.  That is why I know this works for me.  A lab that is in order and complete is an easy A.  I establish certain requirements, such as each page needs the header completely filled in, each section must be present and in the proper order, formulas and calculations are written out, and the last page is signed as an indication they did their own work.  As they get better at the layout and report, I can up the standards on the actual lab work.

The attached page is a pdf of my spreadsheet.  Use mine or make your own, whatever works for you.

Lab Score Sheet

As always, if you have ideas to improve upon this or do something you like better, I really want to hear about it.  I’m tired of having to learn all of this the hard way.


2 Responses to "Lab Grading Sheet"

Any tips for people who struggle to get good grades on labs? haha

Yeah, ask your teacher how he grades and what he is looking for. Then do what he says.

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