"I hope we come to the meeting today with solutions and not excuses for me to wiggle myself out of the repeated lies I have told over the last 6 months." Tony Bennett, the Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction, had a big problem. Christel House Academy, a public charter school in Indianapolis founded by time-share magnate and major GOP donor Christel DeHaan, had come in with a C on the state's A-F grading scale, thanks to poor scores by 9th and 10th graders in English and math. "They need to understand that anything less than an A for Christel House compromises all of our accountability work," Bennett wrote to a staffer. Fortunately, Bennett's team found a solution, revealed today in staff e-mails obtained by the AP -- change the state's grading scale so that the offending grades didn't count. Will Bennett be able to hold on as Indiana's top education official? Not to worry: in January, he moved on to the same job in Florida. [more inside]
Democratic and Republican professors grade differently according to a recent study. Here is a link to a PDF of the published study, minus the critical data tables and figures.
"It would take a lot to get me back to a conventional form of grading ever again." Cathy Davidson, an English professor at Duke, teaches a seminar in which final grades are determined by fellow students. She writes about the experience in Inside Higher Ed. (Thoughts by Duke faculty about the philosophy of grading previously on MetaFilter.)
ColdChef (2006): "Also, Dr. Ivor van Heerden is the fucking man. And he wrote a hell of a book, which will probably eventually get him fired." It did. van Heerden is suing LSU for wrongful termination, and the AAUP is investigating. [more inside]
Lori Whisenant, who teaches business law and ethics at the University of Houston, has outsourced the grading of students' papers to a private company, Virtual-TA, who sends them to be marked in Bangalore, India.
Relative to other schools, public-commuter and engineering schools grade harshly.... [This] may help explain why undergraduate students are increasingly disengaged from learning and why the US has difficulty filling its employment needs in engineering and technology.
"I hate grades.... [But] I am obliged to follow the rules set forth by my employer and the larger education industry in general. Consequently, I assign grades."
Fired for grading honestly? Historically black Benedict College's president recently fired two professors for "insubordination" after they refused to comply with the school's SEE ("Success Equals Effort") policy. One of the fired faculty members claims his academic freedom had been violated. (Gratuitious opinion: I think what's getting violated here is the idea that you're supposed to do college-level work in college....)
More details on the Blair Hornstein case. Read how she manipulated the grading system, what her illness is supposed to be, and how much she was able to accomplish despite "exhaustion."