If you see a whole thing - it seems that it's always beautiful. Planets, lives... But up close a world's all dirt and rocks. And day to day, life's a hard job, you get tired, you lose the pattern. - Ursula K. LeGuin

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Reviewing: Grading In Disguise

I'm in the middle of reviewing hell. I currently have 6 grant and 4 paper reviews due in the next two weeks. The grant proposals are large and dense--some are beautifully written and others haven't a clue. I read them several times over; scrawl notes in the margins; write short cryptic comments that highlight strengths and weaknesses on a number of dimensions; and then I assign each grant a number.

The papers cover a wide range of topics--all tangentially related to my current field or a field I once knew something about. Some are very poorly written; others simply lack the ability to convey an interesting story. I read them several times over; underline key statements; scrawl notes in the margins; write a page or so of feedback designed to help the writer find hir story; and then I assign a judgment--pass/fail.

How is this NOT grading?


Julie said...

Wow. That sounds like grading to me. But it also sounds like you take a lot of time. I love teachers who care. I remember feeling like crying when I graded college essays. Many wrote as if they were in junior high. Some were hideous. It made me realize how many high schools are not doing their jobs.

But every now and then, one would rise to the top, above the hideous or merely mediocre. That made it all worthwhile. The reviewing has got to be hell, though, especially in an upper level situation. Thinking of you!

Amanda@Lady Scientist said...

Umm.... a lot like grading. But at least it's anonymous grading. No "students" showing up at your office door. :-) It still doesn't sound like much fun, though.