Saturday, April 13, 2013

Grades? We don't need no stinking grades?

This past week, our group had a discussion regarding grading in the performance of coursework, which got me to thinking, why grade? Not a metaphysical, what is the essence of grades, question, instead I was curious why we didn't go Great Books. Great Books institutions such as St. John's College have grades, but they don't matter (per se). At St. John's College students are required to attend yearly don rags instituted by Scott Buchanan during the implementation of the New Program at the college. Don rags enable the student to engage in a conversation with the tutor/s (faculty are not instructors or professors) regarding course conduct. This made me think. I hate talking to professors, I always have the feeling that I am wasting their time. We can debate that point, but there is no real incentive for the professor to talk to the student, other than continued employment (assuming the professor is pre-tenure), and any time they spend talking to a student is time that could be spent on other capital ventures. To move beyond this self sustaining negative feedback loop, instead of grading, maybe we should spend more time talking, or communicating.

Edited to reflect some semi balance of grammar.

1 comment:

  1. Nice post. Even more, the don rags require the professors to pay attention too, so that they have something to say. That requires dedicated professors.

    Adam (TA)