Monday, March 5, 2012

What's my grade?

This might turn out to be a bit of a rant, but it really bothers me when I have a class where the professor doesn't give you physical grades. It's not that I dislike the professors, because I do not, it just seems that every semester or so I have one class in which I do not receive physical grades. Once I had a night class in which we were required to write weekly reading notes and responses and the professor never gave us points or letter grades, but rather each week we would receive a check mark followed by a couple of plus signs. One week I would get a check plus and the next it would be a check plus plus. After a while I was worried because I had no clue how I was doing in the class and I asked the professor what the markings on my paper meant- their answer "You're doing fine." I didn't think I was failing or anything I simply wanted to know what I had in the class. This semester I have another class in which no grades are given. We write weekly response which have comments on, but never a grade or points. We have also taken several quizzes and none of them have been returned with a grade. (Many of you are in this class as well.) My question is why do professors do this? Do they think we don't care what we get on a quiz or have in the class? I am very conscientious about my grades. Maybe they don't realize the thoughts that run through there students mind when they have no physical grade to look at? Who knows, all I know is I can't stand it.

Anyone have any thoughts on this matter?



  1. I know what class you are referring to, and I have also experienced many classes like this. However, I think that our professors do this on purpose. College is a learning experience. Especially in education, where they tell us repeatedly how students become too focused on the letter grades and not the learning that goes on behind those letters. As long as you're doing the work and learning as much as you can, you'll get an A. Especially in the class you're directly referring to- trust me. But the fact that you're worrying is exactly what they wanted. I kind of love it. It's so cliche "college" ... it's not about the grades, it's about learning! (So cheesey and you probably hate me, but I seriously do kind of enjoy it. But I'd also like to know, I understand your argument completely!)

  2. Well, some teachers do that specifically to teach you one lesson; grades don't matter. They just DON'T.

    We've been conditioned to believe that our entire academic performance can be attributed to a letter grade. Everyone looks at GPA. GPA, GPA, GPA. Want to get into college? What's your high school GPA? Want to start a graduate program? What's your current GPA? GPA? How is that one number indicative of your past talent or the prospect of your future success?

    I'll answer. It isn't.

    But, since there is nothing else quantitative that we can look at, we reduce you to a number that is so powerful that you might as well have it tattooed to your forehead for everyone to see. It has even become so ridiculous that students are ONLY concerned with getting the A, not with the learning or retention of any ideas that our (obviously) more knowledgeable educators give to us.

    Some teachers just don't believe in the power of that number.

    I know it can be frustrating, because we've been taught to live by the GPA monster, but I'm taking that same class with you. I assure you, you'll get an A :)