What Can Be Fairly Factored Into Final Grades?

Teaching Philosophy 35 (3):275-291 (2012)

Abstract

This paper is a critical examination of Daryl Close’s “Fair Grades” . I dispute his view regarding the implications of accepting the purpose of grades as being fundamentally informational. I draw upon data identifying behaviors conducive to success and Carol Dweck’s work to argue for broadening what can be taken into account for a final grade. I argue that the informational purpose of final grades is preserved if we grade with an eye to encouraging general skills and dispositions conducive to success. Also, grading as Close recommends will discourage learning whereas using grades to reinforce positive behaviors is a fulfillment of our responsibility to enhance learning. I also address Close’s claims that curved grading and grade penalties for academic dishonesty are unfair and argue that neither of these practices necessarily corrupts final grades

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Jennifer McCrickerd
Drake University

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