Changes Must Be Made To Grading Scales To Accommodate Student Diversity

1642 words - 7 pages

College courses have evolved over the course of history, adapting to the ever changing ways students learn, speak, and write. But focusing on the writing aspect of education, do teachers/professors really grade fairly? The university is diverse and students come from so many different backgrounds, and writings cannot always be done exactly how an instructor desires it to be, or in the correct voice. Correct voice means that a student uses words that professors wants to see and construct their essay the way that they like to read. A student’s voice, the tone and form his/her essay is written in, is shaped by their culture, society, and factors outside the professor’s wishes. In this essay, I will address the problems that arise from the ways professors, mostly in the English discipline, grade or evaluate students’ writing. Instructors evaluate student’s writing with extremely high expectations, and need to change their grading style to help students today.
James Paul Gee’s essay, Literacy, Discourse, and Linguistics, he brings up points that there are primary discourse communities and secondary discourse communities that can interfere with one another. Primary discourse communities are born in to, such as a family in a small town area, and secondary discourse communities are attained such as being a political science major. “Two Discourses can interfere with one another, like two languages; aspects of one Discourse can be transferred to another Discourse, as one can transfer a grammatical feature from one language to another” (Gee 486). In light of this idea, students entering in to a University from backgrounds such as small rural towns or different countries, are pressured to completely disregard their discourses from his/her home and create a new voice to satisfy the instructor. The writing prompt of which a student is given to abide by and write an essay that fills all the needs of the instructor provides no real evidence that the student is showing mastery of any kind in the coursework. The first problem is not within the student, but within the grading rubrics and scales of the professor.
What can be done about the problem confronting teachers and professors when evaluating the writings of students? Most might say that there is nothing wrong with asking so much of college students, because it allows them time to realize that there are always going to be really high expectations, whether they be in grad school or the work place. But, the grading scale by which most teachers go by should be made lenient. The reason for a more lenient scale is so that instructors can look at all essays objectively and not grade based on the voice that the students use. A teacher receives a vast amount of papers, and all papers cannot be graded at the same level, because professors want a certain voice to be fulfilled that really limits the diversity in background every student has. The present grading scale is simply unfair. In an article by Dai Hounsell...

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