alex halavais' most excellent grading faq


Thank you, Alex, for saying so clearly and eloquently what I find myself having to explain every year to almost every class.

Things that particularly hit home:

It speaks volumes of our own program that having writing as the major evaluative component makes it a ���writing course.���


This is up there with ���Did I miss anything important on the first day?��� as one of the dumbest questions ever. What am I supposed to say? ���No, I consider myself a ���soft��� grader; perhaps even lackadaisical���?

Read the whole thing. I'm going to post it on my door, and make it required reading for all of my students.


It reminded me that cops see most of the public as scumbags.

Well, if you read only an item like this perhaps that's the impression you'd bring away. When viewed in a larger context of the many celebrations of my students that I've posted here, and the extend to which I enjoy and interact with them in the classroom, I think there's a different result.

The reality is that most of my students are engaged and interested and creative. But every quarter I get a minority who are more interested in grades than in learning, and unwilling to do more than the bare minimum they're asked for.

What Liz said. I see in these kinds of questions not personal faults, but systemic ones. Each of those questions is a symptom of an institutional approach to learning and teaching that doesn't work as well as I would like.

And yes, this was a rant. But do go back and look over other postings on my site. By and large, students on my campus are what brings me to work. I love teaching, and I love the students--I love seeing them exceed what they thought was their own potentials. It doesn't make the grading questions and issues any less annoying, though.

was -> were (See, if I'd gotten more As I might have caught that...)

One of my unfavorites that Alex did not mention was "Is this a quiz or a test?" I still am unable to contain the metaphysical breadth of such a question in my tiny engineer's brain.

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This page contains a single entry published on September 13, 2004 7:27 PM.

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