Grading can be a difficult proposition. In a math course, the mechanics of a solution, meaning the correct addition and subtraction, may be correct. However, a student may have misapplied a solution or not correctly understood the application of the mechanics to the problem in question. As a result, it can be better to grade these different aspects differently. In a writing course, this would be akin to grading spelling and grammar separately from organization of the argument.

Grading rubrics, which outline the different facets of a solution and provide tiered assessments appropriate to the problem provide a solution to this for instructors. Historically, I have given my undergraduate math students a 5-question quiz each week of class. I grade these on a five-point scale (from 0 to 4) where 4 is a perfect solution, 3 is some small math (mechanical) error was seen, 2 is a good start, 1 is something somewhat relevant was written down, and 0 is nothing meaningful was stated. This is a type of informal grading rubric. It is also one-dimensional, which causes some issues.

As the University of Maryland University College converts from its custom WebTycho platform to Desire2Learn, I have noticed that formalized grading rubrics are baked into the platform and can be associated with each assessment. Then, when grading, the rubric guides the process. So I created my first formal rubric and attached it to this my quizzes. This grading rubric essentially formalizes the informal grading rubric I had already used:

Detailed response given with no mathematical errors.

Detailed response given that shows understanding of the problem. Final answer may not be correct.

Explanation or diagram unclear. Final answer is not correct, but response shows some understanding of the problem.

Misses key points and no appropriate supporting diagram provided. The response shows no understanding of the problem.

No answer given or response is not aligned to problem.

While formalizing the prior process is useful, it is self-evident this should be revised to reflect the multidimensional grading process used in college-level mathematics.