Grade It Again, Sam *

Feedback Patterns

This pattern was written by Joe Bergin as Grade It Again, Sam [JB3], and revised by Helen Sharp.

Your students have submitted some assignment work, you have graded it, and you want them to think again about the material, to learn from their mistakes as in Embrace Correction, and to increase their grade.


Everyone makes mistakes, and all can learn from their mistakes. An education or training situation should provide a safe environment in which students can make mistakes, and learn from them, but sometimes students fear they will suffer because of the grading structure. You have to grade assignments, but you also want students to learn from their mistakes.


Therefore, permit your students to change and re-submit an assignment for re-evaluation and re-grading, after you have graded it and provided feedback.

The new grade will be higher than the original but to discourage abuse of the system, you could charge a small 'penalty' so that a perfect score is not attainable. For example, if a student is sloppy he or she may hand in especially poor work, thinking that there is no risk. You might use a 10% penalty on the difference between the initial score and the re-graded score to discourage this. On the other hand, if a student is overly conscientious he may spend too much time on new editions to the detriment of other work. To help avoid this, you could withhold the last 3% of re-grade.

You may need to limit the number of re-evaluations allowed per assignment, for both your sake and the students'. If your class is larger than 30, with no teaching assistants, you may only be able to manage one re-evaluation, due to time constraints. If the potential for improvement is small, the student's time may be better spent elsewhere. The purpose of this pattern is to permit a student to spend additional effort on material with which they have special difficulty.

You should ask students to include all previous attempts at an assignment for each hand-in so that you can see why points were lost; having them all in a folder is useful. It also helps if you ask students to mark the changes with highlights or change bars.


As an alternative, you could permit your students to resubmit only their lowest grade work to date, rather than just dropping the lowest score, as is commonly done.

A key disadvantage to this pattern is that this approach is time and labor intensive, however students can benefit greatly from it.

This pattern helps you Reduce Risk. This pattern can be used almost ubiquitously. The only exception is a course with a major project due at the end, which is graded only once. For that situation see Fair Project Grading.

In Joe Bergin’s experience, there are seldom more than three editions, although he doesn't limit the number. Some of his students have grown tremendously with this approach. You end up working with the students who really need your help.

An alternative to this is to give students lots of time before the hand-in date of an assignment, and tell students that you will comment within 24 hours on any material handed in. Students may get two or three rounds of feedback. Those who take advantage of the system will get a higher grade than those who don't, but they'll also work harder and learn more.