Published On: Sun, Sep 9th, 2018

Davidson Professor Melissa Gonzalez let’s students pick their grade and workload

A literature class at Davidson College this fall will use “contract grading,” allowing students to pick the grade and the workload needed to earn it.

Professor Melissa Gonzalez made the offer during her Introduction to Spanish Literatures and Cultures course, SPA 270, at the private liberal arts college in Davidson, North Carolina.

photo/ lil_foot_ via pixabay

The College Fix reported on the story, noting that “several professors across the nation who allow this pick-your-own grade method, billed as a way to eliminate the student-professor power differential and give students control of their education.”

Coddling students?

A Washington Post article took aim at “helicopter parents” and how “college campuses have turned into one big danger-free zone, where students live in a bubble and are asked to take few, if any, risks in their education.”

In that post, which notes at “A is the most common grade given out on college campuses nationwide, accounting for 43 percent of all grades…

“No wonder students are paralyzed by the prospect of failure. Most of them have never experienced it. Parents are surely to blame for a big part of that, but so too are colleges where young adults spend most of their waking hours.”

So the solution will be to let them pre-select the “A”?

Based on the finding from the Fix, it doesn’t sound like Gonzalez aims to challenge the students in any way:

“I aim to foster classroom environments that are radically democratic and empower intellectual risk-taking,” Gonzalez states in her profile on the school’s website.

“I want to make sure you know about some important innovations I am introducing in the course [contract grading] so that you can decide today or as soon as possible whether you want to take SPA 270 in Fall 2018. If you do, please use ADD/DROP as soon as possible to add it, or the course will have to be cancelled,” she wrote.

“At the end of the semester, if the student completed the specific work they said they would, at the satisfactory level, they receive the grade they planned to receive,” her email states.


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- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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