farishg at CC4.ADAMS.EDU farishg at CC4.ADAMS.EDU
Mon Oct 27 11:39:25 EST 1997

>From farishg Mon Oct 27 10:19:32 0700 1997 remote from cc4.adams.edu
Date: Mon, 27 Oct 1997 10:19:32 -0700 (MST)
From: Guy Farish <farishg at cc4.adams.edu>
To: plant-ed at net.bio.net
Subject: lab grades
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I have to go along with Bob Vickery on the impact of lab grades.  Many 
students are able to perform adequately in the lecture class room, but 
have little practical experience in the lab.  This means that they are 
often unprepared, clumsy, and anxious about labs (especially in more 
advanced laboratories).  While I agree that they need to gain this 
experience, I don't think they should be penalized for lack of experience.

This leads to another potential difficulty, the more subjective nature of 
laboratory grading.  One can give objective practical exams and the like, 
but how do you grade on lab skills? Or improvement in lab technique?  
These tend to be subjective evaluations, and while I feel that I can give 
a fair and impartial assessment of a student's abilities, they generally 
think that I cannot!  Students like concrete objectives when it comes to 
grading, and balk at any suggestion that they have been subjectively 
evaluated, even when it means that they get an A.

Just my opinion, but I tend to stick with about a 75:25 or 70:30 ratio of 
lecture:lab weight on grades.  I do like the suggestion of a workshop 
format for advanced courses, I may give that a try in the near future.

Guy Farish, Ph.D.
Department of Biology
Adams State College
Alamosa, CO 81102
(719) 587-7969 FAX (719) 587-7242
farishg at cc4.adams.edu

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