Why Grades Still Matter

Just before the fall semester began, an essay in The Chronicle, “Why I’m Easy: On Giving Lots of As,” stirred up faculty ire. I’m going to offer a different perspective: Rigorous, differential grading is still relevant.

The phenomenon of “easy versus hard” professors probably dates back to Socrates. Gary Laderman, a professor at Emory University, offered a fresh angle in his “Why I’m Easy” essay. He loves “giving A’s to students” in his religion classes, he wrote, and relishes being an “easy teacher.” His goal in teaching his students, most of whom are pre-law, pre-med, or pre-business majors, is to open up their intellectual lives — and resist reducing learning into “quantifiable tidbits.”

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