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[Computational Complexity] Can We Fairly Teach and Grade?

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  • Lance
    Academic bloggers (like Jeff and Suresh ) are up in arms about a column by Ailee Slater in the University of Oregon student paper. We are currently paying a
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 10, 2004
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      Academic bloggers (like Jeff and Suresh) are up in arms about a column by Ailee Slater in the University of Oregon student paper.
      We are currently paying a large amount of money to attend this University and receive an education. If I have paid to be taught something, shouldn't there be a repercussion for the teacher rather than, or at least as well as, the student when knowledge has not been taught?

      Although teachers cannot be responsible for the self-failings of their students, it still seems unfair that they are allowed to judge how much a particular student is learning. I pay the teacher to teach me, and then I get slapped with the label of failure if the teacher deems that I haven't learned the correct information?

      If students only paid for education they why would my grade matter? Whether I give you an A or a D won't affect how much you actually learned over the quarter. Students also want a certificate of quality of that education (a diploma and a transcript) to further their future careers. No legitimate university would give such certification just for tuition money. They need to verify that the students have indeed learned. That's why we have a grading system.

      But Ailee does have a good point: I do have a conflict grading the students based on what I tried to teach them. Most of us try our best to grade fairly but deep down we know if a hard-working student hasn't mastered the material perhaps we should have taught differently. We often tend to overcompensate for this bias leading to grade inflation.

      Unfortunately, other than standardized exams, I see no other reasonable alternatives of evaluating students. So professors need to grade students as fair as they can and students need to acknowledge that education is not just a right but also a responsibility even when they are paying for it.

      --
      Posted by Lance to Computational Complexity at 12/10/2004 08:50:46 AM

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