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There are 5 comments on POV: It’s Time to Upgrade to Ungrading

  1. Honestly, there is very little merit in this article. It is just another sad attempt by elitist liberals to dispense with the concept of personal responsibility on the part of the student. Given the issues many hiring managers are facing these days not finding qualified candidates for roles, the last thing we should be doing is letting students coast through a course without grades. It is said that this is the state of education these days, where the mere idea that a student shouldn’t receive a low score on a paper that they underperformed is seen as detrimental.

    1. “Honestly, there is very little merit in this article. It is just another sad attempt by elitist liberals [ad hominem] to dispense with the concept of personal responsibility on the part of the student [overgeneralization; provide specific examples]. Given the issues many hiring managers are facing these days not finding qualified candidates for roles [citation needed], the last thing we should be doing is letting students coast through a course [missing warrant] without grades. It is said [correction: sad] that this is the state of education these days, where the mere idea that a student shouldn’t receive a low score on a paper that they underperformed [insert: on] is seen as detrimental.”

      Good start with a clear thesis statement. However, the comment is lacking in substantive reasoning and supporting evidence. C+

  2. This seems like it would provide the grounds for all students to be mediocre and not strive for excellence. All they need to do is pass. Nothing to separate the ones that try hard and do the work, from the ones that phone it in.

  3. Some things require a grade, particularly introductory-level classes. A student must understand the basics. Test with empirical answers require and deserve empirical grades. However, on essays or term papers dialogue is necessary. The professor must evaluate the student’s integration of the material and comments throughout an assignment are part of the learning experience. If a student fails to grasp the material the professor must say so and that is reflected in the grade. I know I’ve written papers that were strong in some areas and weak in others: it didn’t deserve an A, but it didn’t deserve to fail either. With few exceptions the grades I received were accurate reflections of the paper’s content.

    As a teaching assistant I recall a professor giving a weekly assignment and clearly stating that no one would fail the first of the weekly papers because he understood there could be some confusion and he didn’t want to “alienate” (his word) anyone the first week of the class. A student brought his first paper to me, showing an F grade, and complaining the professor said he wouldn’t flunk anyone on the first assignment. At the top of the first page of the 5-page assignment was an F, and at the bottom of that page was written “I will read no further.” As I glanced over that first page, I didn’t read any further either — it was neatly typed nonsense. I presume the student was drunk or trying to take advantage of the professor’s grace. I told him that regardless of the promise, a good-faith effort was required to pass anything on the college level.

  4. I am a phd student in Wheelock and come from a teaching background in an elementary & middle school that did not give grades, only feedback (which was very thoughtful, thorough, and not at all a “cop-out” for teachers — it was actually MORE work than assigning a letter grade would have been). I would be very interested in joining any efforts to change the letter-grade practice at BU.

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