“Dr.” Elisabeth Gruner, in a recently published op-ed for the Conversation, averred that she stopped grading her students’ written assignments four years ago — and that she wished she had done so sooner. Gruner argues that grading is “highly inequitable” and serves only to increase students’ stress levels. Sure, grading has been the standard for assessing students’ educational performance and comprehension of material for many centuries now-- the world over—but we now know that this has been hideously unfair to those who either aren’t willing to study hard and/or are not as bright in some respects as some of their peers may be.
Perpetuating inequality is precisely the reason students are graded. We want to find out who has a clue and who doesn’t. Who knows what they are talking about and who does not. Who is capable of securing a job in the real world and who isn’t. Who might have a shot at keeping that job for the long-term and who will likely flame out early. Who is capable of successfully removing a tumor from you and who might accidentally remove your healthy spleen…and leave the forceps inside of you while stitching you up.
Dr. Gruner dispensed with grading her students…and now practices "ungrading" them. Remember, “judging” is bad, but aiding and abetting the release of idiots into the world is an act of kindness and tolerance! What possible benefit is there to gauging someone’s educational performance or situational competence?
Grading, judging, assessing, rating. It is a vital part of life. We assess the pros and cons of investments in the stock market and the appeal of potential mates.
We can do no less for the most vulnerable among us.