For many lecturers, marking essays is a new and daunting experience. The most important aspect of this area is for lecturers to be explicit about their expectations and for students to practise writing mathematics and writing about mathematics. In this way everyone will improve their communication.
One of the best ways to be explicit about your expectations is to have well-defined marking schemes as in the previous assessment tasks. Our language colleagues have an extensive literature and well-developed ideas on marking writing tasks such as essays. Mathematicians always believe that they mark mathematics objectively
(though it is less objective than we all believe) and that marking language tasks is more subjective. A good marking scheme will help you make your marking less subjective. Separate the communication qualities from the spelling, grammar and word use. If the reader can understand the writing task, then the student should be given credit. It is a good principle to mark spelling, grammar and word use separately so that students will only lose a proportion of their marks for language use as opposed to content and communication.
Here are two marking schemes that can be used to mark extended writing tasks in mathematics. The first is simpler to use. The second gives more feedback to the students.Marking scheme 1
0 1 2 I can understand what you have written