mercredi, mai 11, 2011

Inflate me: did I really earn that A?

I just checked my spring grades. Relief -- and unbelief.

I've had occasion to think about grades and how they are handed out recently -- something I didn't care about a lot the first time around.

In seminary, my grades reflected my interest in a topic -- barely respectable (well, actually horrible) in the introductory courses, gold stars in the doctoral-level English courses at Princeton University. Yes, I find reading the poet Andrew Marvell more interesting than John Calvin.

But this time around, on my third master's degree (and my second in the secular arena), I've noticed something. I could probably hand in a paper in Swahili and still keep that shiny GPA.

This past semester, I KNOW that the professor curved a test score.

I don't think it's my extraordinary academic ability. Instead, it seems to reflect some kind of bias on the part of graduate schools.

My second degree, at Rosemont, I came really close to a perfect grade point average. And I still recall the teacher who gave me a B+ (or maybe it was a B). He said something like: "you really didn't get all the nuances of this topic (ugggh, project management) but you compensated with enthusiasm."

I can tell you right now, he (and my classmates) were the only things I liked about the topic.

His grade may have been the most authentic thing about the degree.

Which doesn't mean that I wasn't disappointed when I didn't get an award at graduation. Particularly with my spotty academic history in college and at Princeton Theological Seminary, I don't mind imitating a fantastic student.

I've only taken four courses towards my counseling degree -- very possibly, the more advanced classes will be harder. Also, the professors, who were forgiving about style, will feel freer to hit me on my shaky command of APA style.

But I still wonder -- why do the grades I felt I really earned in college seem to come so easily now? I really doubt it has anything to do with me, or my classmates.

I have the sense that I'll find out -- and whether I like the answer, or not, I'm still going to be questioning.

1 commentaire:

BigLittleWolf a dit…

The issue of grading - so tricky. I used to love the affirmation that came from great grades, and I took even an A- as impetus to work harder and achieve a better result, no matter how much effort it took.

It wasn't until I was much older that I realized that while those measures of (so-called) achievement are important, they pale in comparison to what we know we've learned, and how we put it into practice.

Still, nothing like a sweet GPA to make you feel appreciated... So I say, pat yourself on the back for it. I doubt I could do it at this point. Don't think I'd have the ability to sit still for it the way I once did, or the tolerance for anything that I wasn't passionately interested in.