Faculty Focus


Turnitin Study Reveals Types and Frequency of Comments Left by Instructors on Student Papers

Analysis of GradeMark comments finds consistency across grade levels in instructor feedback
intended to progress student writing skills

Turnitin, the leader in originality checking and online grading, has released the results of a new study analyzing instructor feedback on 2,093,396 student papers submitted through GradeMark, the Turnitin online grading tool. The study found that while instructors have accepted online grading as mainstream, they are finding the same types of grammatical and compositional errors across secondary and postsecondary grade levels.

Educators may click here for a copy of the full study results.

The study, conducted in Spring 2012, examined the frequency with which secondary and higher education instructors had dropped 30 million QuickMark comments on student written work within the Turnitin service.

Key findings of the study include:

  • There is remarkable consistency in the types of comments used across secondary and higher education
  • Although “missing comma” is the most frequent mark used, comments related to composition comprise 13 of the top 25 marks.
  • “Awkward” is the second most frequent comment used by instructors, prompting a recommendation for more substantive guidance to students.
  • The top 5 QuickMark comments used by instructors are: missing comma, awkward, spelling error, delete and cite source.
  • Online grading is going mainstream with favorable results.

“The fact that QuickMark comments are shared provided us with the opportunity to examine instructor grading behavior on a very large scale,” said Jason Chu, senior education manager for Turnitin. “This study highlights how instructors are deploying best practices in grading and sheds light on how online grading can be better leveraged to enhance student engagement with feedback on their written work.”

About Turnitin
Turnitin is the global leader in evaluating and improving student writing. The company’s cloudbased service for originality checking, online grading and peer review saves instructors time and provides rich feedback to students. One of the most widely distributed educational applications in the world, Turnitin is used by more than 10,000 institutions in 126 countries to manage the submission, tracking and evaluation of student papers online. Turnitin also offers iThenticate, a plagiarism detection service for commercial markets, and WriteCheck, a suite of formative tools for writers. Turnitin is backed by Warburg Pincus and is headquartered in Oakland, Calif., with an international office in Newcastle, U.K. For more information, please visit http://turnitin.com.