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Grading, Good Faith, and Legitimacy

California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Latest update: June 6, 1999
E-mail Faculty on the Site.

Grades, Good Faith, and Legitimacy (First Draft, Spring 1998)
Grades, Good Faith, and Legitimacy (Second Draft, Spring 1999)
Grades, Good Faith, and Legitimacy: Data (Third Segment of Draft, May 1999)
Grades, Good Faith, and Legitimacy: Stories (Fourth Segment of Draft, June 5, 1999)
Grades, Good Faith, and Legitimacy: Constructs (Fifth Segment of Draft, June 6, 1999)
Grades, Good Faith, and Legitimacy: Flexibility and Structure
(Sixth Segment of Draft, June 6, 1999)

Grades, Good Faith, and Legitimacy:Standards in a World of Legitimacy and Discourse
(Seventh Segment of Draft, June 8, 1999)



Grades, Good Faith, and Legitimacy:
Standards in a World of Legitimacy and Discourse
(Seventh Segment of Draft, June 8, 1999)

jeanne's notes from June 8, 1999.

My concern for this section stems from the confusion on the part of what appears to be the whole academy (administrators, faculty, and students alike) that somehow every definable task within higher education can be neatly compartmentalized, it mastery conveniently measured, in linear fashion, and that both the academy itself and the students have some inalienable right to what precisely they will need to do "for an A" in any course. This is an absurd unstated assumption that learning can be reduced to a set of categories defined by those who were once in control of the "Saber-Tooth Tiger Catching Curriculum" and their annointed disciples. Despite our distaste for the tolerance of ambiguity and difference, the existence of learning precedes its essence. (Sartre's phrase for defining the human, whose existence precedes his essence, and wholly appropriate to the definition of learning which embodies much of that essence.)

But a quick aside back to the practical:

How do we know when a student has learned? How do we know particularly at what space on a continuum that student's learning of facts, of process, is? How do we externalize and ritualize that knowledge in such a way that others can carry on our experiment with that knowledge?

Susan and I have for years gone back to a collection of learning theories and to analysis of small group interaction, for those are disciplinary areas in which such measurement matters and has been extensively discussed. We started with that orientation, listened intently to students, and are now trying to translate our perception of what does indicate learning to all of those concerned.

We want to consider:

Please note how often class discussion comes down to the sharing of personal stories without carrying that further to relate those stories to the context and theory of the class. Also look at how many other contributions could be made.

All of these contributions should be sealed with an e-mail to the instructor for record keeping. That's not showing off. That's taking care of business, so you won't be overlooked.

More later.