This paper interrogates the role of Grading in the context of a desire to promote engaged learning. A distinction is made between evaluation and grading and criticism. The discussion unravels the difference between good and bad criticism and suggests that they both fail to address the issue of self-authorship in the sense that they promote an obedience to extrinsic authority and values. The development of an intrinsic value system as a prerequisite for engagement.
Further, the role of grading and evaluation is located in a cultural context in western institutes, and the argument is made that western values, models and knowledge forms (including processes of evaluation) are often oppressive to indigenous peoples and people of colour. The argument finally rests upon the location and distribution of power in the evaluation process.
Finally a consensus model for grading is presented that is consistent with the principles of critical pedagogy and that accounts for both the needs of culturally diverse students and at the same time satisfies the demands of the institution for letter grades.
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