Face-off: Methods of grading test student determination – not just tests

The most important aspects of going off to college are attending classes and learning. Students are encouraged by everyone, especially family and faculty members, to do their best academically. However, as every professor has his or her own methods of teaching, this may not always be easily achieved. Professors who only offer tests for their grading, as opposed to also including essays or smaller assignments for credit, are possibly hindering their students’ performances.
Not everyone is a superb test taker. Only offering tests for grades is unfair to those students. Sitting to take a test comes with pressure and stress before one realizes what material is actually on the paper. He or she has to rush to beat the clock, and fight back nervousness when watching classmates finish earlier.
There are students who try to overcompensate on short answers and essays, because they want to show how much they know. These students, while well-intentioned, may be prone to wasting time in these portions and find themselves unable to finish. There are also students who get anxious when facing multiple-choice questions. Hey, it’s hard when options A and B are worded so similarly.
This method can also be severely damaging when the semester ends. If a professor is only offering tests and no other graded assignments, we must do well on them. If there’s even one slip-up, our GPAs will take a hit. There are no other essays or projects to balance out a bad test grade, no assignments or papers to soften the blow of a poor midterm performance. Those bad grades stand alone. Some students enjoy working on essays or projects without the pressures of a time constraint and in the privacy of their homes or residence halls. All students flourish differently, and this shouldn’t be ignored.
I don’t want to suggest fixing this problem by having professors change their entire grading system and suddenly include papers and projects on their syllabi mid-semester if they don’t want to. That’s not realistic, and I’m sure professors have systems that have worked for them for years. However, I hope this can be taken into consideration for the future. The current system is unfair to students who are not good test takers or who work differently, and leaves little room for something as human as error.
As far as students go, if someone is struggling with a class that only has two tests and a final, there is only one way to combat this. Study. Work harder than ever before, and put extra effort into the class. Although these classes may be more difficult in terms of grading, any student can go the distance with a little determination and some needed positivity.
-Samantha Sawh
Freshman journalism major
Printed in the 11/6/13 edition.

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