The Red Pen: Grading Reconsidered

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Even as we continue to process the distressing events at Penn State, we are aware that some of the normal aspects of academic life continue. Take grading, for example.
We are fast approaching the end of the semester, a time when those of us teaching take up the "red pen" to grade student work.
It's not a task most of us look forward to, because frankly grading wears us out. After all, it takes time, thought, and energy to give feedback on all those student papers, exams, projects, reports, and bluebooks.  
I invite you to put down the red pen for a moment and consider the following questions: 1) are grading and feedback the same thing? 2) If not, what is feedback for? 3) how much do students need feedback on their performance at the end of the semester?
These are questions David Brooks asked himself. The answers he came up with might surprise you:

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