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Document Type

Praxis

Abstract

Evaluation of student performance is an important component of higher education course work and a major dimension of Ignatian pedagogy. However, the process of grading essay exams (a popular assessment method in both the liberal arts and technical programs) naturally brings the threat of several perceptual biases that harm grading validity and consistency. Thus, we sought a method to collect and organize essay tests to minimize identification bias (make student authors anonymous to the grader) and randomize grading order to minimize systematic error (related to always grading the same students first or last). Specifically, in this paper, we describe a step-by-step innovative approach that uses multiple common computer technologies (NetSupport School, Word, DOS, and Excel) to prepare, administer, and grade essay examinations submitted by students. Within the Appendix, we describe the steps and how to use these common tools, but within the paper, we offer general guidelines to apply our methods using whatever software or technologies schools are currently using. The discussion section presents limitations to our described method, offers ideas of modifications that may meet the same goals, and recommends future research directions.

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