LITTLEJOHN: Prior work shouldn’t influence future grades



I have seen many times that teachers will grade students’ work based on what they have done in the past. For example, if a kid gets a good grade on an essay or a test, teachers almost automatically assumes that this student will produce a great essay again.

Teachers won’t read the essay as critically, they will just give them a good grade. The same happens with students who produce poor work early in the term, teachers won’t even look at the work: they will just give them a grade that they feel they will get in the class.

Not that every student has an immediate turnaround in work quality after their first assignments, but every student gets lucky and every student has off-days. Just because one, or the other, happened at the start of the school year shouldn’t dictate future grades on assignments.

Even if they’re grading the best student’s or the worst student’s assignment, teachers should refrain from “going easy” on students or underestimating their students’ abilities just because of their past work.

It’s evident that this happens because when students get test back or essays, one student could write a similar essay, and the teachers will still issue different grades. How does this happen? At some point teachers need to take the time to give students the grade that they truly deserve.

Why does this person deserve this grade? Is it because they wrote an outstanding essay in the past, or because they actually believe it is well written and deserves a good grade? Students should not be graded based upon past grades, teachers need to not be lazy, and grade on the content.  

I just don’t see the point in grading based on who the person is. This is the most lazy thing a teacher can do. Just take the time to grade, and not guess what they got. These grades affect students so much more than they think. Students don’t want to look back and see that it was their teacher’s fault.

If teachers were to grade work with no name on the paper, this would drastically change the way they grade. Top students may get grades they didn’t expect, and bottom level students may get better grades because it is what they deserve.

I’m not saying that top level students don’t deserve grades they have gotten, I’m saying that I believe that there are still students that may slack off because they know that the teacher will give them a good grade.