Seems like everyone out there is struggling under a mound of grading, and I'm no exception. I have one set of grading that's just taking forEVER. Part of it is because apparently my students have issues with following directions. Which I don't understand at all. If a problem clearly says "implement X using Y", for instance, why is it that half of my students implemented X using Z? Or Q? Or, more maddeningly, if a problem says "Write a program to do X", why would a student turn something in that (a) was clearly never checked for proper syntax; (b) doesn't compile; (c) is buried in a WORD DOCUMENT??? And then they wonder why it takes over a week to get things back to them. Jeesh.
I think it's time to dig out The Rules, which I always forget to mention at the beginning of the term, but which I inevitably put into place after The Assignment That Takes Forever To Grade: If your program doesn't compile, I take off a standard deduction (usually 50%). I will take a quick look at the code, but I refuse to do all of the debugging. That may sound cruel, but I only do this in classes where the students should at least know how to debug their own code. And trust me, this is really something they need to learn to do on their own.
I will say that some students do try to make my job as easy as possible. They will actually write me a note explaining that the program doesn't compile, indicate their logic, and then pinpoint where they got lost. Unfortunately, these students are the exception and not the rule. I do want my students to learn, and I will try to help them do so, but it drives me nuts to see such indifference.
My fervent hope is that somebody will develop a grading robot so that I never have to deal with the pain and suffering of grading again. Wouldn't that be nice! Maybe I can make this an extra credit project for my students....hmmm....