Saturday, March 24, 2012

Working Weekend: in which I average midterm grades

At this point in the semester, my students have done a myriad of informal assignments, written one paper, and given one speech. They still have one more paper and one more speech, both worth 20% of their grades—so, now would be the perfect time for them to really buckle down and try to improve, if they see the need to do so.

This is also the point in the semester at which I can’t help but wonder whether or not I am a “tough grader.” Do tough graders know they are tough graders? Do easy graders know they are easy graders? (Crazy people don't know they're crazy, right?)

I've graded 12 speeches. So far, not one student has received above an 88. Does that reflect on them, or on me? But no one has failed. No one failed the first paper. No one has received a grade lower than a 70 on any assignment. So... again, what does this say about me, if anything? I suppose if I weren't asking these questions, it would be impossible for me to be a good teacher. But how do I know if I am a (too) tough grader? Fellow TAs and instructors (surely at least one TA must read this blog), what say you? How do you know if you are too tough of a grader versus whether your students are just unspectacular?

And yet another leftover outfit from the cold weather... I promise, this week, warm weather photos will commence!

[sweater: JCrew, skirt: Megan Nielsen, tights: JCrew, socks: Sock Dreams, boots: hand-me-down, necklace: Ruche, belt: via my mum]

1 comment:

Another TA said...

I'd say being a tough grader is a good thing anyways. If you're forcing even some of them to write better, you're doing society a favor.

In terms of "too tough", I'd say you should compare your class to other TAs classes and to other classes you've taught and see if you notice any systematic differences in how you approach and appraise both between (compared to others) and within (compared to your other classes).