I want to make a special link to a blog post I read today a) because I have just published my own post about teaching identity and caring and b) so I can find this again when I come back to academic teaching!
Prof. Janni Aragon has written a very short but poignant post called Assessment of Student’s Work: Its not about you and it puts into words that which I myself have struggled to verbalise when confronted with emotional or disappointed students. Recently a few of my first year students have been calling themselves A grade students, referring of course to their A-Level experiences. This is something quite new to me but is likely to become increasingly common at Lancaster where student entry requirements are now much higher. I have found that those expectations are also tied to me and the grade I give and then feedback, both verbally and in written form. Implicitly in this statement I hear “I’ve been good at this up until now so why are you marking me down?”. Janni’s post puts into words why I don’t ever feel afraid of justifying the marks I give to students, because as much as I can be, I am impartial and the marks I give are purely based on their work and not them as a person.
I think there is an interesting discussion here about the role of anonymous marking and how that plays into the grade that is given. As a PhD student and first year tutor I used to struggle with the fact that I knew a student had worked really hard or hadn’t at all but that that wasn’t always reflected in their work. I have become more experienced about this now and feel I am better able to remain objective, but this is still tricky at times. Have a read of Janni’s post though; it has helped me a lot!