This page is very rough, as I am simply collating a few comments I've shared with others.
- Use a grading rubric. (Mine is attached.) It takes time to get one set up, but after you do it saves time and helps keep you honest and consistent. Plus, you don't have to put as many comments because the students can refer to the rubric (if it is on Blackboard, or if you hand it back).
- Some people use a code sheet for comments. For example, "1" equals "Unsubstantiated claim". I don't do that.
- Tell students to indicate on their cover page if they really want comments and are going to look at them. Many students never look carefully at the comments to learn how to do better.