Earlier today I posted a long winded rant. It was motivated through negative reviews I received on some classwork.

In the spirit of not turning this blog into a rant board, I deleted it. “blog me a river” would have been a great title for the post however.

But don’t just blabber mr. blogger -make a point! Yes sir. My point is getting “marked” is always an ego-stiring exercise. Anyone have any comments as to how numerical values being placed on your work motivate you?

5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Nirmala on March 25, 2008 at 8:12 pm

    Q: How do numerical values being placed on your work motivate you?

    A: Numerical values being placed on my work do not motivate me or de-motivate me. As far as I am concerned, the work is a process and the grade is but an aspect of that process. If part of the process is learning, then the grade can be used as a communicative tool to open up a space for dialogue, exchange and potentially more learning…
    In my case, usually grades tend to confirm what I already know which is either:
    A) I did not work hard enough and it is reflected in my mark (if I get a poor grade)
    B) I did not work hard enough and it is reflected in my mark (if I get top marks)



  2. You make it sound so easy 🙂


  3. I know that my comments on this subject will easily marginalize me further, but I do not have a clue as to why we are in the grading business in universities, and by business I mean that in all senses. I can imagine a diploma that certifies participation, or qualitative assessments on research papers, but the reduction of qualities down to quantities is something that I find very disturbing, objectionable, and I can assure you that I resent giving grades more than any of my students may resent what they get. I suspect most would not believe me.


  4. Somehow my attempts to censor myself have become the hottest discussion on this blog! So be it, but yes, marking sucks. I tried my hand at marking some papers this semester and part of me died…

    I don’t think I’ve met a teacher who actually enjoys putting marks on paper – but fellow grad students seem to love it – and teachers seem to be quite happy leaving it to grad students. It reminds me of some Buddhists having other people kill animals so that they can eat it without suffering bad karma 🙂

    Actually, most people avoid killing animals themselves – pardon me I’ll take this over to the peta forum.


  5. I, too, resent grading. Like a number of teachers/instructors/faculty, as you note. My problem is partly personal (overly empathetic) but there’s a pedagogical dimension which, I’m happy to see, relates to Forte’s position.
    Grades are now part of a reward and punishment system reinforced by the “customer-based approach” to teaching (especially in universities). In some cases, there’s even a notion that “what students are paying for” are grades. Especially when prestige is associated with the institution giving those grades. And when parents are in fact the ones paying their children’s tuition fees. Then, they almost want to sue the teacher “who gave little 19-year-old Tammy here a lower grade than she deserved.”
    Seriously, it gets weird.
    But we could take another position. Maybe we are, after all, in the business of giving grades. Maybe we should just comply. Students still learn, socialize, meet potential partners for their professional and amorous lives, train for jobs… The system is working, isn’t it?
    Sure, I’m being sarcastic. But that point of view isn’t as absurd as I give it credit for.
    There are occasions during which grades have constructive effects. Especially when it’s important to improve. To “grow.” Being motivated to work harder to get a better grade. Being relieved by a high grade received on a difficult assignment…
    Sometimes, faith in humanity, or even faith in self, depends on such things.


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