Queen of the Quadratic

Monday, October 23, 2006


In my email today, I received a message from a parent who was steamed about the way I graded a group project. I had each student complete the requirements for the project (for individual learning) and then the self-selected group decided on which project would be scored for their group. Her daughter (and group) earned a 95, choosing her work as the "best" and the one they wanted scored. She felt that the others in the group didn't put forth near the effort her daughter did, and therefore didn't deserve the same grade. Then she suggested that I add a few points to her daughter's grade for carrying the brunt of the weight. =0

She went on to cite the fact that she is a college student and familiar with group work. She said that the professors take into consideration if a member of the group didn't pull their weight and their grade was adjusted accordingly. I should do the same, says she. I am sending a message to my students that they can slack off and let others carry them and if they put forth their best effort, they will only get used.

Perhaps I should paint a rosy picture of "life" for my students and tell them fairy tales about how every person is moral and wouldn't dream of taking advantage of a sucker. At what point do we let them learn those lessons?

I would perhaps be able to understand her frustration if I had assigned the groups and forced her daughter to work with known lazy kids. I let the kids choose their groups. Her groupmates chose wisely, and she apparently didn't.

Why is it that everyone knows how to do my job but me? From legislators to parents to the micromanagers at central office, there are no decisions left up to me, the trained professional. I am beginning to wonder why I needed that college degree to do this "job". Obviously, any person on the street could do better.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home