UC San Diego is currently considering ways to incorporate GRADEs into students’ cumulative GPAs.
Photo by Maria Dhilla
After experiencing success with the CAPE program, professors have started submitting evaluations of their students. The new evaluation system, known as the General Readiness And Diligence Evaluation (GRADE), allows professors to gauge their students’ “teachability” and overall “quality as learners,” as well as give students feedback on “how absolutely terrible they did.”
In order to boost GRADE response rates, professors are being offered a $5 Tesco gift card if at least 99% of instructors submit their evaluations for every student enrolled in their classes. “With over 250 students in my class, I really dread having to fill out evaluations,” said MATH 20A professor Ima Dunn. “But I usually only fill out the required questions, like, ‘Do you recommend this student?’ or ‘Did this student have an alarm go off during class?’ However, if I really dislike the student or if I noticed that they dropped their Hydro Flask more than once during lecture, then I’ll be sure to leave a couple scathing remarks about them in the additional comments section.” Other professors have mentioned either “just bullshitting” their evaluations or having their TAs fill them out.
Although many professors report trying to be careful and unbiased in their evaluations, some students have described receiving a GRADE that did not seem reflective of their performance in class. “According to my evaluation, I asked thoughtful questions and I had good attendance even though I skipped all 28 classes,” reported second-year student Dev Ree. “Maybe it’s because the professor read my mind and could tell that I was planning to go to class and decided to give me credit anyways? Telepaths are always bald, right?”
Other students have reported similar inconsistencies with the evaluations they have received. “I went to every class, showed up on time, never left early, and walked his dog twice a week. Hell, I even showed up to his mother’s funeral,” said first-year student Emily Ward. “And in return he says that ‘I am not accessible outside of class.’ If that’s the case, I guess I’ll only be able to walk Sprinkles on Tuesdays now.”
With growing concern of inaccuracies with the evaluations, several students have expressed support to reform the current GRADE system. “It has become abundantly clear that not only do GRADEs devalue students’ learning, they also penalize some students more than others,” said fourth-year chemistry major Hope Cayenne. “Like why is it that I consistently get rated ‘Strongly Disagree’ for ‘This student is fashionable’ from my lab professors but my peers don’t? We are all wearing the same white lab coats. Is white not
Cayenne also mentioned that these evaluations have far-reaching effects. “One bad GRADE can determine whether or not your parents love you or whether or not you stay enrolled at UCSD. And as much as I complain about this damn school, I know other students and I want to keep learning. And my mother’s affection is cool too, I guess.”
To avoid backlash, professors in charge of the GRADE program have announced that instructors will be able to submit their evaluations anonymously.