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Grading

Do you think Jesus graded on a curve?

I doubt it.

Did he reduce people to numbers or letters?

Can’t think of one instance like that.

Does giving grades help us follow Jesus?

Nope. I’m not up with that one either.

So why must we grade our students’ work?

It’s complicated.

Jesus didn’t get married, play the guitar or drive either, did he?

Not as far as we know. None of these are devoid of value, and neither is grading per se.

Must we?

Not necessarily.

Then why do we?

A long and tangled relationship between theological education and the university.

Should we?

Maybe not.

How can we refuse with integrity?

Grade . . . with a generous helping of commentary, to keep a learning conversation going.  Maybe.

What about humility?

Use a pencil. It can be erased.

And what about humor?

It is an artless task, grading. And a lot like chasing the wind.

So how do we know if learning is happening?

There are thousands of ways to discover that, and grading is not even necessarily related.

Is there any room for wise judgement in grading?

Let’s hope.

What about injustice?

No doubt.

And love? Can there be love in grading?

All things are possible.

As my high school physics teacher liked to say, When you are on the receiving end of a grade it is better to plead for mercy than to demand justice.

Right about now . . . I’m thinking this one is right, whether you are on the receiving or the giving end of a grade.

God have mercy on us all at this end of the semester.

 

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