Survey Finds Turnitin Saves Time and Improves Feedback

A survey of instructors was conducted by Turnitin to determine the tangible impact of the benefits experienced using Turnitin for online grading and feedback. 350 Turnitin instructor-users took the survey which touched on three core tenets of Turnitin's grading platform.

The survey ultimately found that instructors who grade with Turnitin:

  • reduce grading time by 31.4%;
  • improve the quality of feedback by 52%;
  • increase the level of student engagement by 46%.

Respondents found 2 aspects of Turnitin's online grading most beneficial:

  • 39% said it "Saves me time compared to pen and paper methods of grading"
  • 31% said it "Helps me provide richer feedback to students o their writing assignments"

Among instructors that said saving time was the greatest benefit of grading with Turnitin, we found that on average, they reduced their time spent grading by 31.4%. To calculate this, we asked each instructor, "In one hour, how many typical student papers could you grade" using traditional pen-and-paper methods as well as using Turnitin. Of course answers varied depending on the instructors' class, level, and assignment types, but was controlled for since instructors essentially offered comparative rates for their own papers. We converted these papers-per-hour rates into minutes-per-paper rates, and calculated the difference between these rates for each instructor.

Example: Johanna H. grades 8 papers and 15 papers in one hour traditionally and with Turnitin, respectively. This means she grades at a rate of 7.5 minutes-per-paper traditionally and 4 minutes-per-paper using Turnitin—a time savings of 46.7%.

Instructors that said providing richer feedback to students was the greatest benefit of grading with Turnitin improved quality of their feedback by 52%. Respondents were asked "How would you rate the quality of feedback you are able to provide to students" using traditional methods of grading and then using Turnitin. The improvement for each instructor was then calculated.

Example: Michael J. rated the quality of his feedback as a 5 out of 10 traditionally, and a 9 out of 10 with Turnitin. Thus Michael experienced an 80% improvement in the quality of his feedback by using Turnitin.

Instructors that said providing richer feedback to students was the greatest benefit of grading with Turnitin also noted that they increased student engagement with their feedback by 46%. Respondents were asked, "Based on your experience and observation, what percentage of your students paid attention to your feedback" using traditional grading methods and with Turnitin, and that increase was noted. Aside from the ease of accessing instructors feedback, and more meaningful feedback being available to students, instructors using Turnitin have an indicator that lets them know if a student has spent time looking through the graded paper.

Example: Diane W. estimated that only 40% of her students paid attention to her feedback traditionally, while 60% of her students paid attention to her feedback in Turnitin—a 50% increase in student engagement.

The results were segmented by the instructors' primary benefit because we found that not every instructor saved time AND gave richer feedback. It was dependent on the user's goal. Some instructors have heavy volume and use Turnitin's QuickMark® comments and rubrics as a means to get through all the papers and provide timely feedback to students. Other instructors give detailed comments, expand on the QuickMark comments, and give extensive individualized feedback—this can take time to do well.

Ultimately, this survey shows that Turnitin is a valuable tool for educators, whatever their motivation for using it is. It is an excellent way to save time, engage students, and give rich, meaningful feedback.

Infographic - Online Grading Goes Mainstream