Tuesday, May 15
It's not really a secret at all, I assume, that most instructors hate grading. For me, it's not the commenting on papers that bothers me, because I actually very much enjoy doing that, and my students appreciate it. It's the deciding, especially at the end of the semester, what letter grade a student has earned, as if the whole 14 or so weeks -- all our conversations, their progress, their pitfalls, etc -- just boils down to this one thing. I always wonder what the student will think when s/he gets the grade, and whether or not that will affect how s/he feels about the class and the way it ended. Some people improve but still don't get the grade they probably hope for, especially in this age of grade inflation. I feel very strongly that I'm a fair-to-easy grader, and yet I still get occasional complaints that I'm a "hard" grader, even though it's extremely rare to get a "C" from me, and almost impossible to get below that.

Sigh. I just wanted to share. This time of year always makes me sad. I get so excited when I get a batch of new papers, so intrigued by what I'm about to read, but then at the end when I have to put a letter grade to it, I just feel a bit defeated. And no, I don't particularly think that doing away with grades altogether will help at the moment, since most students are motivated by their grades to do things like attend class and do at least some of the reading.

For the record, I also think grading grad students is a joke. Is there really a need to assign a letter grade to some of the most feedback-obsessed, masochistic people in the world? I've never heard a grad student say anything like, "I just want my A in this class, and then I'm outta here."


Fraud said...

I hate final grades for many of the same reasons.

This semester I had to grade on a plane, far away from my desk and excel file, and found it really liberating just to grade the papers and let the chips fall when I crunched the numbers. Had I been here, in my office, I would have been agonizing as I entered each grade in.

My big quandry this semester was a case of academic misconduct. For the first time in my life, I decided to report it through the official channels. From here on out, I'm done with the begging and pleading from students that inevitably leads to agonizing and guilt for me. If they violate the code, they get passed on through the system. Let someone else decide if the student's guilty or not, if they're dismissed or allowed to stay. Let someone else lose sleep over such things. I'm done.

sakthi said...

I don't feel grading letter doesn't make any changes in him/her fate or attitude,but on the contrary some people perhaps get discouraged when they got "D" and some may get motivated when they got "A"...
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