She notes that teaching is evaluated by her department in part on the basis of what kinds of assignments instructors give their students, with papers (drafts and final versions) and essay exams preferred over non-writing-intensive work. Recently, there has  been an increase in the number of students most professors in her department teach each term, yet no apparent reduction in the number of writing-intensive assignments professors are generally expected to have their students complete—and then grade. There are no teaching assistants in her department. Her concern is that her department’s expectations are unreasonable.

A professor at a liberal arts college writes in because she has seen signs of confusion in her department about “what is manageable or expected” in the number and kind of assignments students have to complete in a course “when the professor does the grading.”

(photo of untitled sculpture by Tara Donovan)

She is hoping to learn about the grading burden professors at other institutions are expected to take on. What would be most relevant to her is information from other college professors who teach without teaching assistants, but it would be useful to hear from people at a variety of institutions.
What kinds of assignments are you expected to give your students and grade, and generally how many such assignments during a particular course are expected of you, and how many students do you typically do this for each term? When you let us know, please also share what kind of school you’re at. Thanks.

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