Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Whither the B Minus?

Or, Random Bullets of Grading Glory:

  • I thought that grading outside would be more pleasant (hah!) since it was actually sunny and beautiful today. Now I am sunburned all over my arms. Sigh.
  • Eating healthy and grading a shitload of stuff do not seem to go together.
  • I was supposed to be grading this afternoon and instead decided an early dinner was a necessity, as I was craving chips and salsa. Do I walk down the street to Corner Mexican Food Store, or up the street to the Other Corner Mexican Food Store? (California, how I love thee!) I ended up going upstreet, and had a lovely burrito, and discovered that the little restaurant has a very pleasant patio. Of course I did not take the papers with me at dinnertime. I should go back and grade there tomorrow.
  • These research papers are motherfucking heavy. And grading 10 or so and leaving those home doesn't seem to help in the slightest.
  • Finally, to the title of my post ... Does anyone else have trouble "seeing" certain grades? As in, you can instantly point to an A- or a D but others you can't really clearly identify or describe clearly? Or you might have "favorite" grades? I seem to see pluses --- I can know a B+ pretty easily, and a C+, even a D+, but when you look at my grade breakdowns they seem a bit heavy around the B- and not in the B-. What do you think? What makes a B- quintessentially a B-?
I should go grocery shopping but I may go for a pub cafe crawl tomorrow instead. Maybe I'll even have pictures.


heu mihi said...

Well, you could have a grading system like my grad institution's, where the only grading options are the following:
That's it. No D's, no F's, no plusses or minuses. So everyone just gets A's and B's (because a C is punitive). It's easier, I guess, but pretty bad--VERY hard not to inflate when you're operating under such limitations.

Although when we're grading individual assignments, of course, we can give them whatever we want. And I seemed to get a lot of B-'s, actually. Especially early in the semester, when I'm more inclined to be harsh in order to instill fear. ('Cause half of them are going to end up with A's, and they might as well earn them, right?)

Tenured Radical said...

Everything in the B range, in my book, depends on the student having made a good faith effort to construct an argument, but that the argument is flawed or really reproduces the argument of something s/he has read (which students are often not aware of.)

The plus part means that parts of hte paper were really good; the minus part says that parts of the paper were really bad, confusing, or that hte whole paper was sloppy in some way.

Betcha didn't think I could do that, eh? Ol' pass-fail, everyone-gets-an-A Radical!


Fretful Porpentine said...

To me, a B- means that the student has fulfilled the requirements of the assignment and produced an argument and supporting evidence of sorts, but it's not very well executed. (Alternatively, if it's a freshman comp class and we're more than halfway through the semester, it can mean "This is really C-level work, but if I called it a C I'd have to let you rewrite it, and I don't want to see this paper ever again," although I'm trying to get out of this particular habit.)

I give a lot of B-minuses. The grade I don't generally like is the D+, because it seems like adding insult to injury.

Sisyphus said...

Thank you everyone! The grading goes apace --- or at least, it goes.

I'm still having a larger stack of C+s than B-s by a lot --- which I shall attribute to my inherent qualities of evil. Eeee-vil, I say.