General Question

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

What does it mean when teachers say this?

Asked by MyNewtBoobs (19026points) September 20th, 2010

“I don’t give grades, you earn them”

What does that mean?

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39 Answers

ducky_dnl's avatar

It means that they don’t give grades based purely on what they think you deserve. You have to turn in that work to get a grade. You turn it in, they check it and you get a grade. Or so I assume.

Thammuz's avatar

That you don’t get good grades out of sympathy when they’re involved.

cazzie's avatar

She/he is saying that the grades you get are based on any subjective selection on her/his part, but it’s based solely on the work you do. They don’t want students complaining…‘That teacher gave me a bad grade in that class.’.... it’s not the teachers fault if you don’t do the work and EARN a better grade.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@cazzie How can grades be based solely on the work you do as well as on subjective selection? Grading is subjective pretty much everywhere but math, there’s no way to eliminate the teacher from the equation.

cazzie's avatar

You got a beef with a teacher ‘giving you’ a bad grade?

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@cazzie No, I’m just puzzled as hell by the expression. It makes no sense to me.

MacBean's avatar

I don’t see what’s confusing about it at all… When I was in school, grades were generally earned through attendance, participation, homework, and tests. If you showed up, you got credit for it. If you paid attention and were able/willing to answer questions/participate in discussion, you got credit for that. Homework didn’t really have to be correct to earn credit for it; you just had to make the effort and hand it in on time. And then tests… were tests. You earned the appropriate grade according to how much you got correct. Whatever percentage of the available credit you earned, that was the grade you got. Didn’t matter if the teacher hated your guts and wanted to fail you, or if they wished they could give you a perfect score. You earned your grade.

iamthemob's avatar

I think the first part of the sentence is supposed to include a “not” – “not based on any subjective selection.”

That’s where the confusion is – the sentence reads “grades are based on x, but they’re based on y.” It makes no sense.

@papayalily – it would help to know what the context of the comment was. If it was just said in class…I don’t know. Sounds kind of uppity. But maybe it was meant to inspire.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@iamthemob It was sorta buried in the syllabus for my English class. There’s not really any context. I just don’t understand a phrase that professes to take the innate human subjectivity out of anything that isn’t a straight yes/no question.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@Thammuz Seems very logical to me.

iamthemob's avatar

Yeah – the teacher’s pretty much making a fancy statement that’s also a CYA provision to show that s/he’s not going to play favorites. Pretty much, it means nothing.

Looking on the bright side of an interpretation, though, maybe s/he thinks that hearing something like that will empower the students!

Obviously, it’s only leading to confusion.

do you have to take this class? It already sounds lame, dude ;-)

Pandora's avatar

I think you may just be over reading the statement and looking for some deep meaning to it. I’ve heard plenty of teachers say this over the years and what they usually mean is that they expect you to apply yourself daily in class, do the best on all exams, and do all of your assignments and projects without excuses and to do all the tasks assigned at the level of the grade you are in.
Most teachers see class as a contract job for their students. You wouldn’t get paid for skipping out in work or doing crappy work to get by or just not showing up. So don’t expect to get good grades for being a no show.
I use to have a teacher who expected us to make up class lessons and work when we returned from being absent or we go a 0 for the day. Some teachers would excuse a sick day but this teacher didn’t.

Ben_Dover's avatar

It means just what you thought it meant. It is, after all, self-explanatory.

rts486's avatar

It means don’t expect an easy A.

augustlan's avatar

It seems like s/he’s saying, “Whatever grade you get, I don’t deserve the blame or the credit for it. It’s all on you.” Which seems kind of obvious to me, for any class… I’m not sure why s/he felt the need to spell it out.

Austinlad's avatar

It means that the responsibility for the grades you make, good or bad, is solely yours, no one else’s. The phrase does and always has resonated with me, and it’s as true in one’s work and personal life as it is in school.

BarnacleBill's avatar

It means that she/he isn’t swayed by the fact that someone is an athlete, or cute, or outspoken in class. Your grade is based solely on the merit of the work you turn in.

zen_'s avatar

= BS.

Carry on.

janbb's avatar

What they ^^^ said.

SundayKittens's avatar

Agree!^^^^^ Though…if you’re a total a-hole, like it or not, it does have some pull. So be nice.

Pandora's avatar

It could be worse. I had a teacher say once that no one ever gets a 100 in their class because that would mean that they would have to have complete knowledge of the subject the way he does.
So basically that means he is grading on a curve that goes down because we don’t know all the stuff he hasn’t taught us.

YoBob's avatar

Seems pretty darned clear to me.

In most classes the expectations are clear. There is a certain amount of course work that will be covered, there are generally several related assignments throughout the class that will demonstrate that you are actually studying the material, and there are generally a few test along the way that are used to demonstrate your understanding of the material covered.

This teacher is simply saying that it takes more than showing up to class. Your grade is earned by completing the assignments and demonstrating your understanding on the tests.

JLeslie's avatar

It’s basically stating the obvious. I think what it means is your grade is your responsibility, that you have control over your grade, and it is up to you to earn it.

wundayatta's avatar

It’s your effort that determines your grade. If you put in a lot of work, you’ll get a better grade. The teacher is pointing out that the grade is really determined by you, not him or her. In other words, the teacher is being totally objective.

I think the implication is grades are based on work more than on ability. That is, if you are already knowledgeable in the subject, or if you pick up things quickly, and write good papers without trying, you wouldn’t do as well as if you looked like you were working really hard, even if your hard work did not create an above-average result.

If the teacher considers intelligence and good papers to be earning a good grade, then what I said above doesn’t hold true. It’s hard to imagine a teacher who values work over product, but I suppose they could exist. I know there have been times in my life when I worked very hard and got a bad grade for a bad product. Other times I’ve just coasted on through, doing next to nothing, and still gotten a high grade.

I think it’s kind of like lurve. Sometimes you write a lot of good answers and no one seems to like them. Other times you can do no wrong.

CMaz's avatar

“I don’t give grades, you earn them”

What does that mean?

It means that they do not give grades that are not earned.

BoBo1946's avatar

self explanatory. You get the grade you freebies! Some teachers will have a curve for thier classes, some don’t. This one doesn’t.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

It’s not clear to me! Seriously, it’s like the first time I heard “have your cake and eat it too” but without the context clues.
Grading is subjective. Sure, they create the rubric, but often how much they count you down for improper sentence structure or confusing their/there/they’re or even if they thought you made your point well depends on if their lunch is sitting well with them or if they’re tired. Even in math, they write the grade at the top of the paper, which is literally giving you a grade. The phrase says that grading is a one-way street, when because the teacher is human, it cannot possibly be.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@zen_ So it means nothing and I should just forget it?

@Pandora So he included himself in the curve?? That seems… What a dick.

BoBo1946's avatar

@papayalily you said, grading is subjective! What is the name of this class?

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@BoBo1946 Yes I did but that doesn’t clear anything up for me. Freshman Composition.

BoBo1946's avatar

@papayalily Freshman comp…yikes. It’s very subjective. Have you asked the teacher about his/her method of grading? If not, I would.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@BoBo1946 We’ve looked at a number of essays, evaluated them as a class, told her what each of us would grade them as, then had her tell us what she graded them with, but it really confused me even more. I’m not really sure she has a rubric…

BoBo1946's avatar

@papayalily maybe, you should ask for an appt. to discuss this in private. Find out what she wants. Just tell her, I’m wanting to meet your standards, but i’m confused as to what those standard are.

Aesthetic_Mess's avatar

She means that she doesn’t just give you a grade based on you yourself, but on the work you did. You have to earn them by putting in the effort to get an A

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@BoBo1946 I tried. She said to refer to the syllabus. I said I did, and then she said that was the best she could do.

To further add to my confusion about the phrase, she also said on Friday “I give the grades” and “I am The Decider”.

I truly hate this teacher. I spend way too much time confused as to what the hell she’s trying to say. Which shouldn’t be a problem in an ENGLISH class…

janbb's avatar

I think you are worrying too much about this. Just concentrate on doing the best work you know how as outlined in the syllabus, and if you have questions when your grades come in, ask her specifically about them.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@janbb This isn’t worrying me. I mean, it is, but just because it drives me crazy when I don’t understand stuff. Not like a panic attack amount of worry or anything.

mindle78's avatar

How is this confusing? I am a teacher, and I have this sign in my room. Students are constantly saying “Why did you give me an F?” or “Why did you give me a C?” I don’t GIVE grades based on who you are or whether or not I like you, you EARN your grades by what you do in class!

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@mindle78 Did you read the above comments explaining my confusion? And it’s confusing to me. It may not be to you, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be to someone else.

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