How Kaizena Reimagines How Teachers Grade Student Work

James sturtevant leaving feedback
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Listen to “49-Engage as you Grade…Starring Kaizena” on Spreaker.

How Kaizena Reimagines How Teachers Grade Student Work

By James Sturtevant

Okay…here’s the way this went down! I was a college freshman and I had a long way to go in the writing department. I needed to cite more, I needed more supportive evidence, and my sources were meager and of low quality. Sound familiar?

When I got my paper back, I noticed the grade…which was a C, shoved the paper in my book bag, and went on with my existence. The next class, our professor urged us to read the comments she’d wrote on our papers.

I read a few, but then I got discouraged and quit. It seemed like she was yelling at me! I missed some great directives and advice.

Now, I teach 18-year-olds how to write research papers. I totally get the struggle of students not embracing advice on how to evolve as writers.

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Karma is a beautiful thing! I was frustrated because I knew my students needed help. And then…I met a lovely little app called Kaizena. It detonated my paradigm on providing students with feedback. It transformed grading papers into a collaborative process!

Kaizena is voice grading. You highlight a portion of kid’s paper, hit record, and start enlightening.

There are a bevy of benefits to using your voice as opposed to your default red pen:

  • Your voice is far more emotive than a simple written comment
  • Your voice can be far more encouraging
  • Your voice can better communicate tone and emphasis
  • It’s easier to listen than it is to read, hence kids are more inclined to listen to your comments
  • Most educators can speak a lot faster than they can type or write
  • This method invites collaboration because students respond to comments

Best of all, Kaizena has the potential to make grading papers engaging for students and teachers.

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Consider Kaizena, using the Hack Learning problem-solving formula:

The Problem

Students don’t read assessment comments.

TheĀ Hack

UseĀ Kaizena and transform assessment into an engaging collaborative process.

What You Can Do Tomorrow

  1. Sign-up for Kaizena
  2. Generate a student invite code
  3. Commandeer a student guinea pig to help you navigate the process
  4. Designate a future writing prompt for your Kaizena maiden voyage

With Kaizena, students are far more likely to listen and then apply important directives they may have previously ignored.

James sturtevant leaving feedback

James Sturtevant leaving feedback with Kaizena

Student writing could become a collaborative process.

Learn more about using Kaizena and other powerful Tips & Tools for engagement in James Sturtevant’s bestselling book, Hacking Engagement.

A version of this post first appeared at

Author: Mark Barnes

Mark Barnes is a longtime educator and the Founder of Times 10, which produces the popular Hack Learning Series, the uNseries, and other books for teachers and learners. To connect with Mark follow @markbarnes19 on Twitter.

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