Archive for March 23rd, 2009

brickline-grassMost of my Spring Break has been haunted by student papers.  Or rather, the commenting and grading of student papers. I like to give constructive comments, but I also need to give clear indications of how far they’ve gotten towards adequacy at this point [and at this point, for most of them there is a very long way to go!].

The problem with coaching outside the sporting world is that the transition to accountability/assessment is much more arbitrary — in NCAA basketball, a coach does what he or she can to get the team ready, but the real TEST isn’t administered by the coach; it’s administered by the next game, meted out by the opposing players. The scoreboard, referees, and stadium crowds give feedback that go far beyond what a coach could ever say.

When I grade students, I’ve shifted gears from coach to judge, and some students never really grok that I am playing two very different roles simultaneously; they just think faculty are fickle….since along comes the next assignment, and suddenly I’m coaching again, until the next judgement day.

leiacloseredeyeThe irony is that I myself am in the assessment spotlight, but without benefit of coaching.  Leia may be adorable, but she can’t help me with tenure.


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