The Ethics of Paper Grading

A great blog post on grading papers and ethics.

The Craft of Teaching in the Academic Study of Religion

By Jonathan E. Soyars, Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary

I distinctly recall one of the most incisive pieces of critical paper feedback that I received in graduate school: “You wrote a lot of things, but you didn’t argue anything.” In the moment, reading such an evaluation of my work felt painful, maybe even a little unfair, as if the evaluator hadn’t read closely or slowly enough to absorb the intricacies of my argument. I comforted myself with a simple delusion: surely, they missed the forest for the trees! With the passing of time, though, I came to realize that their assessment was entirely accurate. Indeed, that paper had presented no forest. And, to make matters worse, it actually contained few trees.

As second-year postdoc, I now find myself grading student papers similar to my own way back when. Frankly, such grading occurs at a volume and pace that can sometimes…

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