Re: grades -- a few small points.

Steve Finley (Finley@TTDCE1.COED.TTU.EDU)
Wed, 4 Sep 1996 15:03:31 +0000

>From Marcy B., re the discussion with Jeffrey G. about comparisons of one
student and/or essay to another:
"If I say I'm copetent to ride a
bike, where does the comparison come in?"

How about even in the sense of the word itself?--that is, how do you
know any particular quality without an idea of what it is NOT? In
this case, "competent" is meaningful at least partly because of what
you think of as "incompetent" and instances thereof. Likewise, how
does labeling someone's work as "excellent" or "really nice" or even
just "engaging" become meaningful without an idea, and probably lots
of examples, of what "awful" or "really not very good" or
"distancing, unengaging" mean? Distinctions are inherently
comparative, aren't they? I know that the ways in which these
distinctions get framed is often wrongheaded and unproductive, but
going to the "no bad dogs" extreme ("All Students are Honored at
Smith Elementary," they said with smug undifferentiation) seems not
all that good either.

s finley