Where the tests have no name . . .

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(because I’m not paying to post this blog, I can’t have the song suggested by my title playing . . .sob!)

So months ago a dear friend mentioned that her son recommended a book where the author discusses teacher bias and recommends grading without knowing the author of the test or paper.  This idea has stuck with me because I believe I am guilty of this bias.  And it’s not good, this bias.  It means that I end up grading the student and not the student’s work.  It means that I automatically assume clever Katherine meant to write the correct answer and give her the benefit of the doubt.  It means I assume that distracted David probably doesn’t know what he’s talking about here.  It means I penalize or forgive based on what I know about Stephen’s weekend schedule.  And I don’t need to explain that what I really want to “grade” (without grades, of course!) is the work, always the work.  And never the individual, right?

So I’m testing tomorrow and my plan is to first pass around a class list and ask the students to assign themselves a number and then to write that number on their test in place of their name.  It does add some work for me, but only because I will have to write the narrative for this test on a separate sheet, and then transfer it to the narrative sheet after I have done all the grading and know who wrote what.

Will the excitement of the name reveal and the unbiased read of the test be worth this extra step?  Let’s see!

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