the grade is the bummer

'Exams to grade' photo (c) 2005, Chris Lawrence - license: finished commenting on my students’ drafts in their wikis, adding my comments to theirs, so that each writer has at least three sets of comments. Aside from the ease of writing in the wiki, I like the conversation about writing that occurs in these reviews and that it is specific to each writer’s work, not conceptual as many instructional discussions can be.

More than all that, I don’t feel any stress about participating in the process, because I am not assigning a grade–that thing that no matter how hard I try, I feel is more subjective than it ought to be, and less valuable. If only I could comment without grading. If only we were all in it for the learning and I could say, yep, you’ve learned it, or not yet, keep at it. But there are program and major GPAs to maintain, not to mention the letter grade we have trained students to desire.

Oh, I know there have been experiments with different methods of grading writing students, but I haven’t had the chance to work where such experiments are happening. So, I will have to settle for that little breath of fresh air from the wiki reviews, because that last paper is due on Thursday and it must have a grade.


Categories: learning, teaching

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