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More on Fair Grades

For Those Who Teach

More on Fair Grades

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It’s not often I write a column and then continue to wonder about the arguments it sets forth, but that’s been happening with my recent “Fair Grading Policies” column. Author Daryl Close, a philosophy professor, makes the case that fair grades should be based solely on students’ mastery of course content. When behaviors such as attendance, punctuality, participation and respect count toward grades, they contaminate measures of content mastery. Students (not very many, mind you) can learn the content without attending class, arriving on time, speaking up, or respecting others. Moreover, grades on a transcript do not indicate that they are based in part on how the student behaved in class. That leaves those who review transcripts to make judgments without knowing exactly what grades measure.

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