Breakout rooms: Marking

If you are using Zoom, there is a feature called "breakout rooms."  This is a way to put students into groups and have them work on task "live."  This means that they can speak to each other while carrying out the task, and you can "pop" into the room to talk to them or just to listen to what they are doing.  It also easily allows them to share documents or what is on their screens. This promotes a higher level of engagement than simply giving students tasks to work on independently ever class session

Zoom breakout rooms

Breakout rooms are pretty easy to use.

You can see on the bottom of the Zoom screen that the icon second from the left says "breakout rooms."  (You can also see how thrilled I am to be distance teaching in this photo!).

When you click on that icon, it will give you a new screen, asking you to choose how many rooms you would like. You can either assign students randomly to a breakout room - or you can assign them manually.  You cannot, however, do manual assignment of students to groups until they have entered the meeting.

Once the rooms are created, go to the options menu. You can make it that students are required to stay in the rooms for a fixed amount of time (I would say 20 minutes is a maximum) or they can pop back into the main session to ask questions.  If you are going to check on the rooms, then you may want to untick the "allow participants to return to the main session. If you want them to receive a warning when time is up, you can set that in the final "countdown" option.

Marking and editing scripts

This activity is good for revision for exams - or for the end of a unit.  It is also just good practice for improving writing skills.

The task is pretty basic.  Students are randomly allocated to breakout rooms in groups of 4 - 5 students. Task one is for them to mark an IB essay.  In order to do so, they should not just assign marks, but annotate the text using the comments feature. You should give them about 15 minutes to complete the task.

Below you will find six sample essays to use.  The marking guidelines are included to give students a benchmark.  They did not see this on the Google Doc. 

If you choose to use these scripts, please remember the steps to creating a version for your own classroom use.

  • First, go to File and choose Make a copy.  This is the document that your students will use.  If all of your breakout rooms are going to give feedback on the same essay, then you need to make a copy for each breakout room.
  • Go to the Share button on the document. It will be easier to give students in each breakout room their own link. To do this, go to "advanced" and where it says that the settings are private, you should click on "change."  Change this to anyone with the link.  Be sure that "edit" is chosen and then copy the link to send to the members of that group.

After they have given feedback on the script, you can approach this task in different ways:

  • Have them all come back to the main meeting and have each group share how they marked the script.  See if there is consensus among the groups before going over how it was marked.
  • Move students between the breakout rooms and then have members of the original breakout group justify their marking to the new members of their breakout session.
  • After going over the marking, ask students to work in groups again to improve the essay to make it go up at least one full mark. This can be a group writing assignment that is then submitted as an assessment.

Sample essays for feedback

Paper 1, sample 1: Evaluating SIT

Marking feedback

The essay does not focus on the demands of the question – that is, evaluating the theory. There is only a minimal description of the theory, lacking clear conceptual understanding. The studies used are appropriate, but not explicitly explained in terms of the theory. Evaluation strategies employed – e.g. ethical concerns and generalizability - are not relevant to the demands of the question. 7 marks

A: 0 marks; B: 2 marks; C: 2 marks: D: 2 marks; E: 1 mark. 

Paper 1, sample 2: Ethics in animal research

Marking feedback

The essay is focused on a discussion of ethics. The response demonstrates understanding of ethical considerations in animal research and discusses the limitations that such ethical considerations cause in research. Two appropriate studies of the brain and behaviour are explained with regard to ethics. There is evidence of critical thinking, but this could be more developed. 18 marks

A. 2 marks; B: 5 marks; C: 5 marks: D: 4 marks; E: 2 marks

Paper 2, sample 1: Culture and treatment

Marking feedback

A = The essay is focused on the demands of the question.   2 marks

B = The response demonstrates detailed knowledge and understanding of the role of culture in the treatment of disorders. 5 marks

C = The response uses relevant research to support the discussion. The research is rather well explained but not fully. 5 marks

D = The response reflects evidence of critical thinking by providing a discussion of the relevance of the research to the issue of culture and treatment. 5 marks

E = The response is clearly communicated and well organized. 2 marks

Total: 19 marks

Paper 2, sample 2: Promoting social behaviour

Marking feedback

A = The essay is only partially focused on the question. 1 mark

B = The response demonstrates some knowledge and understanding of prosocial behavior and the theories on which the research is based. Terminology is not always used correctly. 3 marks

C = The research is appropriate but not described in accurate detail. 3 marks

D = There is some evidence of relevant critical thinking, but much of the critical thinking is of marginal relevance. superficial or is not developed.  3 marks

E = The answer has some organization but this is not sustained within the response. 1 mark

Total marks: 11

Paper 2, sample 3: Validity and reliability of diagnosis

Marking feedback

A = There is no definition of validity or reliability of diagnosis. Lacks focus on the question. 1 mark.

B = The response demonstrates very limited knowledge and understanding of validity and reliability of diagnosis; instead, the response addresses concepts of normality and abnormality.  2 marks

C = The response does not include any research study relevant for the question. 0 marks

D = The response is mainly descriptive with minimal evidence of critical thinking. 1 mark

E = The response has some organization but lacks clarity. 1 mark

Total marks: 5 marks

Paper 2, sample 4: Sociocultural approach to relationships

Marking feedback

A = The topic is identified but the response does not define or describe the sociocultural factors contributing to the understanding of personal relationships. 1 mark.

B = The response demonstrates very limited knowledge and understanding relevant to the question. In the response, there is some description of general factors that are marginally relevant to the issue. 1 mark.

C = The response does not include any research study relevant for the question. 0 marks

D = The response is mainly descriptive with minimal evidence of critical thinking. 1 mark

E = The response has minimal organization and lacks clarity. 0 marks

Total marks: 3 marks

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