Friday, July 15, 2011

A Grading Scale That I Wish I Had The Courage To Try

I hate grading essays and other writing assignments.  It may be the worst thing about being a English teacher.

Alan Jacobs, a college professor, has hinted he will adopt the following grading scale for notebooks or other assignments that are not "formal papers."
So, friends, here's how you can interpret the grading of your journals — which is not easy, I grant you, since I'm encouraging you to write conversationally and I'm tending to respond conversationally:
1) If I use words like "excellent," "outstanding," "first-rate," and the like to describe your entry, your grade is W00T.
2) If I say the entry is "solid," or "good," or if I don't make a qualitative comment but just respond to the content in some way — by adding information, or offering a correction, or the like — your grade is WIN.
3) If my comment is of the "yes, but" variety — which happens primarily if you either don't offer enough of your own responses or if you stray too far from the text you're supposed to be writing about — your grade is MEH.
4) If I tell you that you're just off-track — which happens primarily if you offer no responses of your own (instead summarizing either one of our writers or a critic) or if you don't really talk about the literary text at all — your grade is FAIL.
5) And if you fail to turn in a journal, your grade is EPIC FAIL.
Ironically, the scale seems similar to that used by The Savage Critics when they rate comic books.

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