Grading Tests – Ego Depletion (Mental Energy)

I am on page 43 of Kahneman’s book. He states there that high levels of concentration by what he calls System 2 of the brain causes ego depletion and actually drains a body’s physical resources (glucose).  Some researchers studied eight Israeli parole judges.  The judges processed cases all day with an average approval rate of 35%.  Immediately after each food break there was a 65% approval rate. Right before the next food break the rate was zero.

I will be grading eighty final exams Tuesday and Wednesday.  I intend to just sit down and get it done.  It looks like I better be taking more frequent food breaks to be sure I grade the tests fairly.


About jrh794

I am a sixty-five year old math instructor at Southern Oregon University. I taught at the College of the Siskiyous in Weed California for twenty-six years. Prior to that I worked as a computer programmer, carpenter and in various other jobs. I graduated from Rice University in 1967 and have a MS in Operations Research from Stanford. In the past I have hand-built a stone house and taken long solo bicycle tours. Now I ride my mountain bike and play golf for recreation.
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One Response to Grading Tests – Ego Depletion (Mental Energy)

  1. Nick says:

    Great post, Jim. I will keep this in mind as I grade exams. I am also not using red pens anymore, as per this article.

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