grading the college essay

IMAG0053Reading this defeatist article on on grading the college essay. Rings true in many ways but why would I want to give standardized exams instead of essays? So as I prepare to spend the next three or four days reading my students’ work, I just have to keep telling myself to grade, and not to edit. In many ways this article goes against an essay by David McCullough I read a while back. His point was to have students write in every class, in every situation. In his point of view, and I have to agree, that is exactly what college is about. Reading, writing and thinking.


  1. I know my papers were hardly impressive until about halfway through my senior year of college, but practicing writing and getting feedback from my professors is what helped me get better. Keep fighting the good fight. Reducing college education to just standardized exams is an insult to the college degree.


  2. I read the article and I think she is right about one thing: she IS a defeatist. Of course, that probably has more to do with trying to eke a living out of being a badly paid and non-supported adjunct than it does anything else. I think the sort of writing that we have our students do is the sort of writing that they need to do, and I believe the way we teach it won’t reach everyone, but for those it does reach, it’s nothing short of amazing sometimes. We can’t do any less than what we do.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s