Grades and Grading – Snakes and Ladders

I wrote earlier this year to a professor of mine who’d asked what students expect from their university experience (and, by extension, their professors). One point I noted was that I’m always curious to understand my professors’ teaching philosophies. A few questions I wish I could ask every professor:

  • How do you deliver your lectures? What do you plan for students to take from them?
  • What do you expect students to learn from your course aside from the subject matter?
  • What’s the goal of your evaluations?

Here, Alan Jacobs provides his own answer to another important question: “What’s your grading philosophy?” Among other good tidbits, an ever important reminder:

And above all, know this: I do not evaluate people when I’m grading, I evaluate their written work. … Some of the most memorable and delightful people I have had in my classes got mediocre grades from me; and there are some people to whom I gave nothing but A’s who weren’t much fun to be around. And in any case, a semester after you’ve been in my class I’ll remember you perfectly well but I probably won’t have the first idea what grades I gave your papers.

8:00 pm on December 17, 2018