Sunday, November 30, 2008

Panel Discussion on Grading Practices

There will be a panel discussion about grading practices here at University of Wisconsin - Madison this week.

When:
Wednesday Dec. 3, 7:00-9:00 pm

Where:
Health Sciences Learning Center
750 Highland Ave.

Speakers:

Prof. Harry Brighouse, UW Philosophy
Prof. Lester Hunt, UW Philosophy
Prof. Richard Kamber, College of New Jersey Philosophy
Dean Robert Golden, UW School of Medicine

The panel was prompted by two recent events. One is a proposal at the UW medical school, recently approved, to grade first year medical students on a pass/fail basis only. The dean of the medical school will be speaking on this plan.

The other event is the recent publication of a book of essays I edited and contributed to on issues surrounding the phenomenon generally known as "grade inflation." The other speakers on the panel, aside from Dean Golden, are contributors to the book.

Obviously, one of the issues that will come up is whether some of the same objections that are raised against grade inflation also apply to switching to a pass/fail system such as this one.

I plan to say that grading practices today make little coherent sense, university wide, and that the problem (if that is what it is) may be impossible to remedy without radical institutional changes.
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