This recent Sunday Review section
of the New York Times released the grading guidelines rubric of Harvard. It is a very interesting system that, I believe, arouses students' passion for doing their assignment in the best way they can. As mSchool may also need a guideline for grading students' assignment, it's worthwhile to take a look at Harvard's standard and consider adapting it for mSchool.
Here is a summary of the guidelines.
The A+ grade is used only in very rare instances for the recognition of truly exceptional achievement.
For example: Nearly every single word in the paper is spelled correctly; those that are not can be reasoned out phonetically within minutes. Content from Wikipedia is integrated with precision. The paper contains few, if any, death threats.
An overall course grade of A+ is reserved for those students who have not only demonstrated outstanding achievement in coursework but have also asked very nicely. The A+ grade is also awarded to all collages, dioramas and other art projects.
The instructor may at her discretion supplement the A+ with one or two additional pluses (A++ or A+++). This grade is known as the A+ with garlands. Garlands are generally awarded for no reason.
The A grade, still exceptional, is reserved for work that is nearly as excellent as that receiving the A+ and that would receive the higher grade if not for some minor and easily excused flaw, such as that the student is not enrolled at Harvard.
The A— grade is awarded to work that, while very good, is nevertheless diminished by a significant flaw that cannot be completely overlooked. For example, a final examination receiving the A— might be impeccable, except for having been left blank. Or the student filled in the test, but did so according to no discernible pattern, while screaming like a maniac. An A— term paper might offer an original analysis of a complex topic, but exist only within the imagination of the instructor or the student, or, in some rare instances, both.
The B+ grade is reserved for students who have committed assault.
The B grade may be awarded as a joke, before being replaced with a higher grade, so long as the instructor has checked with the registrar that the student's psychological profile permits practical jokes of a cruel nature.
Harvard's grading rubric seems well worth studying for the benefit of mSchool's development. Here are some adapted grading scenarios for mSchool:
1) The A+ with garlands can be awarded to users who use mSchool most often.
2) Auditing users could only get A at the best.
3) A- can be awarded to users who submitted their work but didn't make full use of mSchool's tools.
4) B+ can be awarded to users who scrape mSchool's contents using a bot without uploading original contents by themselves.
What do you think?