September 21, 2005

Student gripes

It seems a bit early to be hearing students complain about grades, but what do I know? There are various student gripes circulating around the net. And a colleague told me of a student who claimed that policies at my institution required that all grades be based on a 90%=A, 80%=B, etc., scale. (No, they don't.) It's only the first day of fall! But maybe it's karmically related to fewer A grades at Princeton.

Well, I don't have any of those (yet) this semester, but I can add the student who complained last year that his A- in my class "ruined" his perfect 4.0 in a program and asked if I would reconsider the grade. I'll admit that was a new one for me. No, I didn't. I'll admit that I don't see anything inherently worthy about grading—it's an institutional routine with constructed value. I'd be as happy giving out pass/fail grades. But we have grading, it's part of student motivation, and I'd make my life and the life of my colleagues much worse if I didn't stick to what I described in the syllabus as standards.

Posted by sdorn at September 21, 2005 06:36 AM | | TrackBack