On grades and anxiety

I’m grateful to Chuck and Alex for their encouraging comments about my plan to make my grade distributions public, and it still seems like a good idea to me.

However–and maybe this is just me–it is slightly anxiety-provoking.  Last night, for instance, not long after writing the post, I went to sleep, and dreamed that the provost read the post, and ominously called me in for a meeting to discuss it.

I do think there’s a shame that can attach to grading, at least in the humanities.  “My, that’s a lot of A-s . . . ” or “You really thought she was a B writer?” or “What was wrong with you that semester?  So many Cs . . . ”   And then I get defensive. But that’s part of the reason for pursuing this–to try to open up that shame to sunlight.

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One Response to On grades and anxiety

  1. Alex says:

    This is what I mean- it both opens you to easier relationships with students and higher scrutiny from administrators. I could forsee some ambitious student creating some sort of line graph, charting grades over time (See, ever since his kid didn’t make the soccer team his grades have been on a decline, but with the coming of the second kid I predict that grades will slowly rise…. that is not to say that grades are intimately connected with a professor’s social life, but I can see this being used in that way) or some other odd intention. I still say go for it- Open source your classes for the win.

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