I teach a Masters level course at Wilkes University. Like many teachers, I often get asked by my students, “What do I need to do to get a higher grade?” They offer to do extra credit or anything. While I understand that for some, grades are tied to funding, scholarships, etc, my grading practices are pretty clear. Students essentially grade themselves while I, and others provide feedback. You can read more here if you like.
I understand that even as adults, the idea of grades is deeply embedded in our thinking about learning. So when I was asked recently about how to get a higher grade, this was my response:
So without going into too long a diatribe about grading, let me just say that I don’t care at all, or at least very little about grades. It’s partly why I simply ask all of you to grade yourself and give very little pushback unless there is a huge discrepancy. What I’m interested in is your learning and trying to measure it is a futile pursuit at best.
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I hope that what we’re doing here is interesting and useful. If it isn’t, I’m asking you to push me to make it more in line with your interests staying within the confines and principles of the course.
I feel that by following the blog considerations, looking closely at some of the better examples among your classmates and interacting deeply with others, you can achieve the grade you want. I’m not a fan of extra credit in principle either. Doing more work because you want to learn more makes sense, doing it for credit means it’s simply about grades.
If you want a higher grade, it’s pretty easy. More learning actually requires more effort.