Tag Archives: lectures

Considerations on grading

Since last month, I’ve been teaching in Social Anthropology at Stellenbosch University, South Africa. (The website still needs updating, so you can’t find my name on it yet.) There’s a lot to say about this new and very intriguing teaching context — the first thing being that university politics are a very live issue, and so there’s a lot for me to learn, given my work.

Since I’ve been teaching large lectures for the first time, I’ve had to think about grading in a new and larger-scale way. It’s different to teach 150 students than to teach 24 students. And in particular, I’ve been especially frustrated this week by how some of the traditional grading criteria — stylistic and textual evaluations of students’ writing — map too neatly onto sociological divides (race, class, native language, cultural capital). Different grading criteria are in order, ones that aren’t proxies for social origins.

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