A RhetNet SnapShot Repl y:


Richard Long

I am sort of torn by Eric's suggestion that we should abandon our role as evaluators. On the one hand, it's a great idea; most student writers or peer groups are as evaluative as the teacher, though at times I think perhaps they are just an extension of the teacher, they evaluate according to the teacher's standards, the teacher's handouts. So even though it seems that we have given students power we have instead just given them the power to evaluate according to our standards.

On the other hand, there are times that I want to retain the final say. I have had a students (it's a rare occasion) who have argued that they should pass even though the quality (?) of their writing was deficient in many ways. I don't want to get into quality, what it is, but by my standards, as well as by the standards of the others in the class, their writing was bad, incomplete, clearly not of passing level. I feel that I am able in these situations to reclaim my authority and can, without ill will, fail these students.

It is certainly possible that a peer group would also have failed these students, but my question would be whether the evaluation of the peer group is simply a reflection of mine, especially if I have had input into the defining of the evaluation criteria.

My question is this: how can students or peer groups develop evaluative criteria that is truly theirs, and not a spin-off of some other authority?


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