The Risk of Self Assessment, and The Rewards That Follow

College courses are in a whole different ballpark than that of a high school class. In high school, classes were designed to help students pass the big A.P test or final exam at the end of the year. College classes do much more than that. They teach skills and lessons that spark growth and help students develop into open minded individuals. Dr. Beth McCoy’s writing seminar for the risks and rewards of academic partnership helps guide students on their journey of self growth, both academically and mentally, while maintaining a safe environment to do so. In using a self assessment grading technique, students are faced with the challenge of balancing their freedom of self reflection, while staying within the limits of a class mandated rubric. 

Dr. McCoy allows students to grade their own assignments by following the three pillars of, “care for course accountability, care for growth, and care for peers growth” which can be found in the class syllabus. Holding yourself accountable to your work comes with the added responsibility of depicting “trust, transparency, accountability, care, and acknowledging the possibility of harm” (McCoy). Students are expected to grade their work honestly and be forthright about the actions they took in preparation for the class, and what grade is deserved because of it. 

Being able to grade your own work is a huge reward! You learn important skills such as trust and accountability, you learn how to look at yourself and your work objectively, and you have the ability to reevaluate your priorities and abilities. However, there is an equally big risk that comes along with this privilege. You risk the possibility of failing to accurately determine your grade, either overselling or underselling yourself, and you can break your professor and peers’ trust in the process. 

Even though the risks sound scary and severe, they are necessary in order to receive a reward as influential as this one is. The lessons you can learn from being able to look at your work and determine how well you have done is something that severely outweighs the possibility of failure. In fact, these risks can serve as motivation to try your best and put your best work forward. And even with the possibility of failure, McCoy will help point you in the right direction by offering insightful feedback that you can take into consideration, as well as setting limits, which unlike popular belief, are more beneficial than restraining.

McCoy’s limits are set in place to help you avoid crashing and burning. There is a class rubric which serves as guidelines to follow when grading your assignments. Some examples from the rubric are, “I participate frequently and thoughtfully because doing so helps my peers and me grow” and, “I frequently review our course concepts and get to thinkING about how they apply in my conversations, writing, and reading. I bring the course concepts outside the course and into my conversations with others, including those outside of the course”. Though these may seem as limitations for the work that needs to be done and behavior that has to be exhibited, the rubric is actually a helpful tool that will guarantee success. 

The successes that come from these rewards will take you far in life. For example, I plan on using my new skill of transparency to further continue along my journey of becoming an open minded human who is open to changing and growing. Something I struggle with is accepting criticism, so by learning how to judge myself and my own work, I am hoping to be more open to other peoples constructive comments. My goal is to achieve having a growth mindset, and this course is a great opportunity to strengthen the skills needed to make this dream a reality. These limits are nothing but a guideline to help me on my journey and keep me in check along the way. Having a guideline is a reminder that I’m not in this alone, and that there are people and resources available to help me along the way. All things considered, this course will help each student grow exponentially in a well guided way. Though there are risks that you will encounter in order to succeed, they are worth the lifelong reward of being able to equitably look at yourself and the things you do. McCoy’s set up for this course allows a lot of freedom which may be intimidating, but by being in a supportive class setting such as this one, with a rubric intended to keep us in check and not to hold us back,  it will all turn out for the best. The lessons you learn will stick with you for the rest of your life, both inside and outside of the classroom.  

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