Standardizing Your Grading

Collaborate with the Senior Professor

Work with your professor to formulate examination materials and understand all components of the material covered.

  • Ask for papers to be blinded. Use numbers or codes to conceal the identity of students to avoid unfair grading.
  • As the senior professor will generally write the test, they will provide the key and rationale for the answers and grading.
  • The TAs responsibility is to understand all components of the questions and answers.
  • Ask questions to best grade the papers as they arise during grading.

Grading with Multiple TAs

Often in larger classes, you will have an opportunity to work with one or several TAs. It is important all TAs are involved in the grading process and work as a team to evaluate the students in a fair manner.

Grading with Keys and Rubrics

More esoteric methods of testing such as essays or short answer will benefit from a rubric to evaluate assignments and ensure more uniform grading. A rubric is a grading scale written before the assignment is due. They allow the grader to more easily allocate points to the assignment.

Students with Disabilities

These students should be graded on the same scale as the rest of the class. Exams maybe turned in late to you due to extra time allotment. An easy method to avoid grading these students differently is simply to slip their paper randomly into the class pile and grade all papers as a group.

Errors in Keys

Although you or your senior professor will try to prevent errors in the grading rubric or answer sheet, you may encounter them in the course of your grading. It is important to recognize this error

Unexpected answers:

Although you may prepare the assignment and answers as best you can, students may come up with answers you did not expect.


  • Read a few exams first before grading
  • This allows you to get a feel for possible answers and change your key accordingly
  • If an error is noted in the question or the interpretation of the question, you can discuss with your professor or other TA’s
  • Grade one page at a time. While this may seem to be longer, but you will only be focused on the material on one page rather than the whole exam. This will provide more consistency through all students and will cut down on grading time. An alternative to this is provide one page to grade to each TA if there are multiple TA’s for the course.
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 License.