Lone grader: school-wide Senior Paper assessment comes to a close

For most of the nearly 140 students who whom it’s assigned each year, the Senior Project is the largest, most complicated assignment they’ll ever do, and senior seminar teacher Amanda Kopp has been assessing drafts and helping students in her senior seminar classes for four years.

But this year,  Kopp’s involvement in the project has grown  has been given the task of being the lone grader all of the Senior Project papers. The decision to have one grader came at the end of last year in response to moving from teaching five of seven classes to teaching six of seven.

“We came to the compromise that although teachers will not be grading for products and portfolios (scrapbooks, videos, and physical objects such as prom dresses, boats, pottery, etc.) so that they will have the opportunity to see the products of the students’ individualized projects and that remains a schoolwide effort,” Kopp said.

Kopp said the extra workload has not fazed her and she’s glad contribute to lessening teacher stress.

“I understand teachers need time and planning so I am happy to take on the Senior Paper grading in order to give them the time that they need to help develop our students into the wonderful kids that they are when they come to me senior year,” Kopp said.

Along with the challenges of grading alone come a few benefits, such as gaining an extra planning period and not having to train other teachers to grade the Senior Papers, making the grading on the essays more equal.

“In the past, the most difficult part was to train teachers to equally grade the papers,” she said. “It was always kind of difficult for teachers that really aren’t accustomed to grading essays.”