10 thoughts on “I Hate Grading

  1. Yup, me, too. Although sometimes I love reading the thoughts of my students, I hate the process of grading!

  2. I’m in. Hate. It. Eyes. So. Weary. Mind. So. Tired. Emotions. All. Frazzled.

    I especially hate borderline grades – right on the cusp of passing or failing.

    My friends outside of education tell me ‘just make a scale and use it’ – sigh…why is it not that easy? Isn’t it supposed to be?

  3. Yes borderline grades such a battle with the conscience!One one shoulder is the good cop and on the other the bad cop!

  4. Sorry about crashing this post with a different topic, but I have no other way of posting this. It is a very insightful and scary article published in The Nation about the crisis in higher education.
    Faulty Towers: The Crisis in Higher Education
    by William Deresiewicz

    The URL is http://www.thenation.com/article/160410/faulty-towers-crisis-higher-education

    The following are a few brilliant quotes from the piece:

    1. What we have seen instead over the past forty years, in addition to the raising of a reserve army of contingent labor, is a kind of administrative elephantiasis, an explosion in the number of people working at colleges and universities who aren’t faculty, full-time or part-time, of any kind. From 1976 to 2001, the number of nonfaculty professionals ballooned nearly 240 percent, growing more than three times as fast as the faculty.

    2. Yet the liberal arts, as we know, are dying. All the political and parental pressure is pushing in the other direction, toward the “practical,” narrowly conceived: the instrumental, the utilitarian, the immediately negotiable. Colleges and universities are moving away from the liberal arts toward professional, technical and vocational training. Last year, the State University of New York at Albany announced plans to close its departments of French, Italian, Russian, classics and theater—a wholesale slaughter of the humanities.

  5. Hi Boss,
    I’ve got similar feelings as you and the other posters (if I may coin that version of the word).
    Can I ask what in particular you hate?
    Is it the lack of time to grade? Is it the overall process?
    There’s much that I don’t like about it too, but it’s part of our job, right? I’m not tryin’ to make excuse for having to do what we don’t like.

    This post has me wonderin’ about what’s wrong with grading in general and what’s wrong with what we do as teachers and how we go about it. Maybe your hate has something to do with the archaic system of school?
    I dunno, but I’m remembering a post (from Harold or Truman Lounge) titled: Changing Education Paradigms and there may be a connection between your feelings and the antiquated educational system we are asked/forced to follow.

    I’m done with my grades, but the process always leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. The end of my semester does not compliment the start.

  6. I love it! IT SURE BEATS;

    1) sitting in an office thinking about how to write a report,
    2) writing the report,
    3) visiting 11th floor and being asked to do one more thing,
    4) developing budgets,
    5) asking for money and writing donation requests for another event because the department has no $$,
    6) being late for committee meetings,
    7) running around the building looking for that one person who just stepped out when you finally get to their office,
    8) being done with a project and being told it needs to be updated to meet the expectations of the new policy, OR
    9) filling out reimbursement forms twice then being told it’s fine but you missed one doc.

    I LOVE GRADING! I love the portfolios, essays, research papers, and blogs. Maybe I’d rather meet one on one with my students, but considering the options, grading isn’t all that bad.

  7. I know I’m coming into this thread really late, so I don’t expect an answer, but here goes anyways: why don’t we use plus/minus grading? I guess it’s easier to deal with the calculations and hand out grades if we just stick with letter grading, but I’m calculating my grades to the hundredth of a percentage point anyways, so I’m equipped for a plus/minus system. I think I’d be able to better differentiate student performance with a plus/minus system. Of course, I don’t know how our students would react to this (a quick google search suggests the research shows faculty support +/- grading much more than students), but I’m wondering if the idea has ever come up, and if so, what happened?

    • I’ve always been of the opinion that the +/- system makes a lot of sense in some disciplines and classes, and no sense in others. If methods of evaluation are entirely quantitative, as in most math and science classes, then a distinction between an A and A- is non-arbitrary and real. However, in those classes that have a strong qualitative element, such as English, history, philosophy, music, etc., everything changes. Sure, we need to construct a quantitative system to evaluate performance, but in these cases the numbers are arbitrary. What exactly does a hundreth of a percentage mean in an argumentative essay, a music composition or a poem? It means absolutely nothing. The quantitative systems that the qualitative courses use is a crutch, but it cannot measure anything with precision. Even the A/B/C/D/F breakdown is somewhat arbitrary, but not unreasonably so.

  8. When I said I calculate student’s grades to a hundredth of a percentage point, the point wasn’t to suggest that I think that 0.01% of a student’s grade actually means anything; it was simply to state that I personally can deal with the calculations necessary for a +/- system.

    More importantly, I don’t think most math and science professors would agree that the methods of evaluation in their fields are “entirely quantitative”. Much of physics education involves evaluating the quality of critical thinking and scientific reasoning that a student employs when solving a physics problem. For example, when grading a physics solution, I have to answer the following questions:

    – Did the student provide sufficient representations of the problem (including pictorial, graphical, and mathematical representations) that help to illustrate the physical situation posed in the problem?
    – Did the student use appropriate models and assumptions when analyzing the physical situation?
    – What student misconceptions regarding the physical world are embedded in their analytical approach?

    and so on. Most of this evaluation is qualitative, not quantitative (i.e. I’m not just looking for a numerical answer on a multiple-choice scantron), so I have to use a rubric to guide my grading, just as my colleagues in the humanities do. And once I map a qualitative impression of a student’s problem solving and critical thinking skills to a numerical value via these rubrics, I still find myself wanting to be able to differentiate between students that receive the same letter grade. A grading scale that goes from A to F (with +/- in between) is basically a 10-point scale versus a 5-point scale (I’m not talking about percentages, just about the granularity of the grading scale). It’s obviously not perfect and definitely a little simplistic, but I like to be able to convey the difference between a 8 (B+) and a 6 (B-). Is this a concern only for those in the math and science fields?

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