The Possibilities and Limits of a Self-Assessed Class

In many college writing classes you get assigned an essay to write and the professor gives you your grade based on what he or she considers is the standard for writing. This standard could be different for every teacher though. However, when you grade yourself, the standard is up to you and you get to decide what you consider meets that standard.

Self-assessed classes can be very freeing and less restrictive than other classes where you are getting graded by the teacher based on the teacher’s beliefs and standards. In this type of class you can decide yourself what you have earned. Of course, you can lie and say you deserve an A when you put in little to no effort, but that could lead to not getting anything out of the class. You can also work extra hard and create high standards for yourself to meet.

In the class The Risks and Rewards of Academic partnership, taught by Dr. Beth McCoy, you are able to assess yourself on your care for your course accountability, care for your growth, and care for your peers’ growth. As long as you show care and effort, you should earn a good grade. Hearing that is initially very exciting and freeing but it has many risks that can go along with it as well.

In a traditional classroom, where professors give you the grade that they think is the most suitable for you, there is an incentive to try hard and get the best grade possible, when assessing yourself that incentive can go away. Suddenly, all of the will to try hard is on you. You have to decide what your standards are. You can have extremely low standards and put little to no effort in, which is fine, but will you really be getting much out of that class? Later in life when you have to work hard or apply the skills you should have learned in the class, you can’t. When you do not put in hard work into a class you can’t learn from it.

On the other hand, you can set really high standards for yourself and work as hard in that class as you would for any other class you take. Self-assessment could work really well when the student actually works hard. In this case, the student has freedom to be as creative as they want and write in their own style. As long as they apply themselves, and grow in the class, they get the grade they deserve. 

After every essay you write in The Risks and Rewards of Academic Partnership, Dr. Beth McCoy gives you feedback on what she liked and what you can still improve on. This can be very helpful to the student who wants to get something out of this class. If the student has very high expectations of themselves, they can take Dr. McCoy’s advice and really use it to grow and learn. Although, if you are only doing your assignments because you feel you have to, and not to get anything out of it, these comments will not do anything for you at all. They can only help you if you want them to help you.

Although some may jump at the chance to take a self-assessed class, others may decide that it is not for them. They may realize that they don’t have the discipline for it or they may just not want the pressure to be all on them. That is why taking a self-assessed course can be both very freeing and very restricting at the same time.

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