An ephemeral snapshot

Here is a nice piece (as you can see below) by Bharadwaj Rangan on critics and their profession that touched a chord with me because it set me thinking about teaching and grading.

The idea that I find to be the most difficult to communicate to my students (most often) is that though I set the question paper, and that I have corrected and given such and such grade, the grade by itself does not tell anything about how “good” or “bad” the student is in any absolute sense (to paraphrase Bharadwaj Rangan, from here).

As teachers, in addition to teaching, we are also forced to give exams, evaluate students and give our stamp in the form of grades (like Rangan and his ilk who are asked to give stars and rating numbers in addition to reviews). And, much like Rangan, I also feel that this entire system of grading is

vestigial remnants of a long-established and corrupt system, necessary evils we have to live with, and they deserve nothing but contempt

As Nana Patekar says in his Ab Tak Chhappan, “Mujhe bhi accha nai lagta hai; lekin, karna padtha hai”.

The only reason I would like to give exams to my students is to check how far I think I have been able to communicate what I wanted to communicate and for the students to evaluate how far they have understood what they think they have understood; however, grading, and the pressures associated with grades (if I do not have such and such grade I will not get this admission or that job) interferes with this process.

I would love to see that day when grading gets separated from teaching!

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