Home Artificial Intelligence How ChatGPT Can Help with Grading

How ChatGPT Can Help with Grading

by Dr. Bruce Ellis

I enjoy teaching, but I don’t enjoy grading. Using rubrics makes grading easier, but it can still be a chore to review each assignment with fresh eyes so that the student you are grading now gets the same attention as the first few. This is where ChatGPT can come in handy. It doesn’t get tired of grading. And if you have a tight rubric (well-designed with little or no loopholes), you can expect consistent results from ChatGPT, but there are a few important things to consider.

Guiding Thoughts for Grading with ChatGPT

Before we get into the details, let’s cover a few main points that should set our framework for using ChatGPT to help us grade.

1. ChatGPT does not know your students. It is unaware of IEPs or extenuating circumstances that would give reason to adapt a standard, expectation, or grade.

2. ChatGPT isn’t perfect. It’s true regardless of the task that you are asking it to help with. Using ChatGPT to help grade is no different. You will need to review what it generates, edit, revise, and tweak.

3. You can’t rely solely on ChatGPT for grading. Can it be a tremendous help? Yes. But you should not take its assessments as final.

4. You are ultimately responsible. You are responsible for the accuracy of the grading and the feedback. You will need to be able to defend grades and feedback you give students.

Infographic in green and black of the 4 guiding thoughts for grading with chatGPT outlined in the article.

For the purpose of this article, I’m going to be taking the viewpoint of grading student essays. Feel free to adapt the information to accommodate the assignment you want to grade, but be aware that ChatGPT may not be good at grading some types of assignments! 

Using a Rubric with ChatGPT

First, you’ll want to begin by reviewing your rubric. Most folks, me included, write a rubric from their own point of view. This makes sense, but there is a better way. When you are developing your rubric, write it not for the student. Write it for the parent who believes their child should already be in Harvard, even if they are physically just in 7th grade. The goal of your rubric is to be so airtight and refined that if said parent came up to school wanting to argue a grade, you could give them the rubric and their child’s paper, and they would come up with the exact same grade as you.

If you are new to developing rubrics, consider using an online tool to jumpstart the process, such as Rubistar, iRubric, or Kathy Schrock’s assessments and rubrics based on Common Core standards. After developing your rubric, have another teacher look over it for loopholes, places where the wording could be more precise, or any criteria that may be missing.

And, while it might go without saying, you can ask ChatGPT to help you develop your rubric. Clearly state what you are looking to assess (be as detailed as possible), the number of levels of quality (what each level is called and the points for each level), and anything else you can think of. Ask if there are any criteria you did not include that ChatGPT might recommend. When done, ask ChatGPT to create a rubric using the above information and put the rubric in a table format.

Here is a ChatGPT-generated rubric (that has not yet been edited or adapted) based on the prompt I submitted.

PROMPT: Create a rubric for a 5-paragraph opinion essay based on the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for grade 10. The rubric should include 3 categories: 1. organization, 2. development of ideas, and 3. use of language/conventions. Each category is worth a maximum of 4 points for Exemplary, 3 points for Meeting, 2 points for Approaching, and 1 point for Beginning.

Screenshot of ChatGPT script

Using ChatGPT to Help with Grading

Here is the prompt I used when having ChatGPT assist with grading some college essays:

Act as an expert educator who is able to read information, analyze text and give supportive feedback based on a rubric that I will give you. 
Students were given the following assignment: 
[paste student assignment here]
When you are ready, I will give you the rubric. I will then begin to give you the student work to evaluate and you will provide specific, constructive and meaningful feedback in a first-person, supportive voice. If the score given is less than [total points for the rubric] points, provide a brief paragraph on specific steps the student can do to improve the work and earn full credit based on the rubric.
Do you understand?

ChatGPT will respond with something like: “Yes, I understand. As an expert educator, I will evaluate the student’s work based on the rubric you provide and provide specific, constructive, and meaningful feedback in a first-person, supportive voice. If the student does not earn full credit based on the rubric, I will provide a brief paragraph on specific steps to improve their work and earn full credit.”

Once ChatGPT says it’s ready, I copy/paste the rubric to ChatGPT. The rubric I was using had detailed criteria with four levels of quality (Excellent, Good, Fair, and Poor), with each quality assigned a certain number of points. 

ChatGPT will respond with something like: “Thank you for providing the rubric. I understand how to evaluate the student’s work based on the quality of the post, and I will provide specific feedback to the student to help them improve their work and earn full credit if necessary. Please send me the student work to evaluate.”

At this point, I was able to copy/paste student work and receive focused feedback. Much of the feedback was very insightful and had valuable comments. Some statements needed to be toned down because they sounded ‘over the top’ complimentary and not how I talked. I found that none of the feedback could be used solely ‘as is.’ But it definitely sped up the process and identified some things that helped me be more aware of how my students were doing. 

Tips for Using ChatGPT as a Grading Assistant

Be transparent with your students. If you’re using ChatGPT as a grading assistant, share your process and prompts with them. Encourage them to do the same and ask for feedback prior to turning in work. They need to learn how ChatGPT can assist them in becoming better writers, but I will save that blog article for another day.

Prompts are meant to be tweaked. Keep adjusting your prompts, making them more detailed, to get better results. And incorporate the language you want ChatGPT to use! Have a conversation with ChatGPT to share your expectations but stop every so often and ask if it understands you. Ask ChatGPT if anything is missing in your request that would help it can provide more meaningful feedback.

Give ChatGPT examples of feedback. If you already have feedback that you would like ChatGPT to model, be sure to add that as part of the initial ‘conversation.’ Ideally, give it a few feedback samples so that it can better understand how to meet your expectations and speak to your students.

Consider moving to ChatGPT Plus. If you are using the free/public version of ChatGPT and you have more interaction than it can assist with (you are using more than your allotted tokens) or it’s giving you issues, think about an upgrade. Since doing so, I’ve not had one instance of waiting for it to respond, cutting me off in mid-sentence, or being sluggish.

You are the teacher of record, not ChatGPT. You are responsible for providing instruction, assessment, and accurate, meaningful, and constructive feedback. The buck stops with you, so that means reviewing what ChatGPT generates and making appropriate adjustments, edits, revisions, etc., to ensure you can stand by your grading and feedback.

Infographic in green and black of the 5 tips for using chatGPT as a grading assistant listed in the article.

Using Your New Superpower

Hopefully, you see ChatGPT as your new superpower. How will you use it to benefit your students, improve your teaching skills, or enhance your current work? Jump in the comments below and let us know. If you have a prompt that works well with grading a particular type of assignment, share that in the comments as well. Who knows, you might develop some superfans!

If you find ChatGPT or other AI tools fascinating and want to learn more, join us at TCEA’s virtual AI for Educators Conference on July 27 from 8:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. Central. All sessions will be recorded and available for attendees through August, so you can enjoy every session at your convenience!

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1 comment

Andy Adams March 23, 2023 - 10:26 am

I wish GPT had a better name to allow us to generate better workshop/blog titles when discussing Bard and ChatGPT. That doesn’t have pizzaz! (I did ask Chat what I could call it as a nickname, and it replied, “Alternatively, you could come up with a nickname that you like based on my capabilities, such as “Brainy” or “Genie.” Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide what you’d like to call me!” I told it I would call it Harold. 🙂 “The Ultimate Battle Royale 214–Bard vs. Harold: The AI Cage Match of the Century!”


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