Grading Degrades Performance LO17465

Nancy Polend (
Wed, 18 Mar 1998 20:34:51 -0500

Replying to LO17459 --


I have a complimentary attitude/experience to yours (below)...although I
probably wouldn't describe it as "contempt."

> I recall
> distinctly the unbridled enthusiasm I had for learning--and my disgust
> when I found out how low the expectations truly were


> I had a similar contempt for the grading. This contempt was based on my
> self-centered assessment of the person who was grading me. If my teacher
> was incompetent, anti-intellectual, and biased toward the education system
> which stunted learning, then what possible relevance did his or her
> grading mean to me.

It has always bothered me when my teachers failed to put the effort into
teaching that I was putting into learning. When I ran into a lack of
effort, I always participated in class as "the obnoxious smart-alec". In
other words, I would challenge everything the teacher said in a
"hey-look-he/she-is-clueless" kind of way. This usually got the class
riled into a great that we actually learned from. It was
a sort of gap-filling endeavor that I felt compelled to fill. Almost
always, the teacher/professor and I ended up having a great
experience...they would come to me after class and tell me that I was
challenging them and joke that I was a tough customer. This admission
often got them no more respect from me, but at least I could see I was
getting through to them at some level.

One of my college professors said in class one day, "Life is too short for
me to be developing test questions." This was as he was explaining that
he got his test questions from a test bank. From that day on, I was his
worst nightmare...he just wasn't putting any effort into his teaching, so
I felt I had to make up for it...I felt sorry for the class and angry at

Now that I think about it, maybe I do think of it as contempt. ;-/

What is most interesting to me is that I continue(d) to strive for the
"good grades" and the "outstanding" performance appraisals, even though I
know/feel that they are arbitrary, clueless statements of how another, who
I may not even respect, thinks I am performing. I often wonder why I do
this...obviously being achievement oriented has something to do with it,
but you'd think I'd give that up knowing how useless
grading/rating/performance appraisals are.

Just thought I'd add to your contempt thread....
Nancy Polend


Nancy Polend <>

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