Feel pressed for time? Let your students swap papers and grade each others’ work in class every so often.  No, I’m serious. It is a good idea and it is also legal, even encouraged, by the highest law in the land.

The Owasso vs. Falvo decision was made ten years ago, but it bears reviewing, especially at this time of the never-ending winter when malaise and pressing to-do lists sap our time and energy.

Student grading is allowable and it is not an invasion of privacy according to the Supreme Court of the United States.  In the 2002 decision the Supreme Court ruled 9-0 that there is nothing illegal about swapping papers and grading them in class.  In fact, the practice even encouraged by the high court:

“Correcting a classmate’s work can be as much a part of the assignment as taking the test itself,” Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for himself and seven colleagues in the decision.

“It is a way to teach material again in a new context, and it helps show students how to assist and respect fellow pupils,” wrote Kennedy, a former law professor who still teaches several classes a year.

Peer grading offers students immediate feedback on daily lessons.  Students often enjoy the instant results and they can learn from each other when we discuss the answers.  It also saves teachers time, allowing them to concentrate on doing the tasks they are best suited for like creating lessons for their students that incorporate best teaching practice.

When was the last time the Supreme Court voted unanimously on anything?  ALL of the justices hardly ever agree on a ruling.  But they did in this case because it is not only lawful, it is a good idea. According to the highest court in the land, this is good practice.  Who are we to argue?

Source:  http://www.pbs.org/newshour/extra/features/july-dec01/sc_cases.html