Monday, January 30, 2006

Relative Grading Makes Me Look Bad

Let's face it--everyone gets bored sometimes. For me, Monday was one of those times. I found myself in an 11th grade English classroom trying to force Renaissance knowledge into my brain in preparation for Academic Decathlon. As entertaining as that sounds, soon enough I noticed I had ripped my fingernails off trying to claw through the door. Finding it staunchly fortified, I searched the walls of my own prison (insert Scott Stapp joke) for some sort of entertainment, finally settling upon the metaphorical refrigerator door, in this case a bulletin board with "exemplary" essays stapled to it.

The grades on their title pages ranged from 92 to triple digits, and, since I had so recently been a junior myself, I felt compelled to measure myself against them. I carefully pulled the nearest 100 of the wall and scanned its face. "AJ*...she's a volleyball player," I thought to myself, "Smart AND comfortable in spandex. Truly, she is any man's dream."

I settled into a nicely maintained plastic desk nearby for the four page read. It quickly became apparent that it was a personal essay, focusing on her recent trip to Paris and, hopefully, an epiphany she had encountered relating to it. The opening was a bit choppy, and it was painfully obvious that she wasn't comfortable using words like "plethora", as she sprinkled them into sentences in an attempt to seem worldly, but I was willing to let her redeem herself. After all, hadn't she garnered a perfect score? Sentence after sentence dragged by with awkward gerund phrases and little more than basic word choices. It wasn't until her second paragraph that I finally reached my breaking point.

The opening statement went something like this: "The Paris metro was fun most of the time, but some of the stops were inconvenient to our destination." And I wonder why people think all the kids at my school are stuck up. She wants to go to the f****** Louvre, and she'll be damned if you want to get off somewhere before it.

Why is it that her writing receives the same grades I earned last year? "It's the best one. You should see the others." Delivered with a sigh and a shrug, that was the only explanation I got. I've got finger paintings from first grade with more coherent morals. All I learned from that paper is...well...uhhh...get the point?

*I have no real problem using my own name, but I don't think people appreciate it when I call them dumb, so I used initials, and my sister's first two at that.


Blogger Sam said...

Who says that the girl wrote her paper this year. In my expirience, high school papers, written freshman year or senior year, will generally garner the same grade whichever grade they are submitted in. So, if you write a grammatically correct paper with coherent sentences, chances are you'll score well each year. As proof of this, I have written one personal essay since eigth grade( for school, that is), and have turned it in every year. My grade has not gone bellow a 93.

9:25 PM  

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