Re: grades

Kathleen Yancey (FEN00KBY@UNCCVM.UNCC.EDU)
Mon, 26 Aug 1996 10:14:16 EST

at the risk of problematizing something that is already very complex--
ie, grading--let me add another thread to this discussion. I'm not
crazy myself about grades, but there is a fairly well documented line
of research suggesting that it is only because of *grades* that girls
get some kind of fair shot in schools. As you might suspect, boys do
well on standard achievement measures, while in the aggregate girls do not.
But girls' grades--which take into account lots of things beyond the ability to
guess someone else's right answer--show them to be able students, so through
their grades girls are able to relativize their scores on standard
achievement measures. (For a thorough dicussion of this, seeSadler
and Sadler, _Failing at Fairness_, 1994.)

There are lots of troubling issues here, to be sure, but one I'd like
to stress is that if/when we take grades away, we need to see if we are
eliminating standardized tests (eg, SAT, GRE)as well. If we are not, then
when we take grades away, we take away the one means currently available for
girls and women to show what they do know; in sun, in removing grades, we
run the risk of further disenfranchising girls and women.

A difficult thing for me to support, as you might imagine. :)

Kathleen Yancey