Returning Student Work
There are good reasons to return student work at the end of class. If you return assignments at the start of class or section, students may be distracted by reading comments rather than focusing on the lecture or discussion. Don’t leave papers or exams in a pile on the desk during class; put them out of sight where they will not distract students. If there are several GSIs for a course, try to return assignments in all sections on the same day. Students resent it if assignments for one section are returned significantly earlier or later than assignments for another section.
Before returning student work, let students know when your next office hour will be or when they can come to you to discuss comments or grades. It is a good idea to leave at least one full day between the time you return assignments and the time you allow students to come to discuss them with you. This gives them time to think about your comments first. It also allows students to respond more rationally, rather than emotionally, to your feedback.
Some students are hesitant to discuss a grade that they don’t understand or they feel is unfair. Reminding students of your policy on regrades, or furnishing them with a fresh copy along with their graded assignment, can encourage students to think through the grader’s comments before they discuss their grade with you.
See Before You Grade: Grading Policies for sample policies GSIs have used in sociology and in physics.