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Grades and Graders


Few people like to take exams; and less enjoy correcting them. Professors and their assistants continually lament that they must give examinations and place a letter next to every student's name. But these examinations have become an important part of a student's life. In large, impersonal courses, exams alone determine grades; these grades are crucial for honor degrees and admission to graduate schools. As long as marks have such an important role, professors and instructors who correct exams cannot let their boredom with their work interfere with a thorough job on the bluebooks.

The Social Relations Department discovered what has always been suspected: that no two men will give the same grades to a set of essay answers. Yet most essay questions answered in the next few weeks will be read hurriedly by only one person.

Wherever the size of a course permits, questions should be read by two men and major differences should be discussed. In any event, correctors should spend enough time on a paper to give a good evaluation to a semester's work. There is no excuse for what is too often the correctors' practice of skimming a three hour exam in 15 minutes and then expecting to be able to put down an intelligent grade.

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