Language News: To Justify Every ‘A,’ Some Professors Hand Over Grading Power to Outsiders – Technology – The Chronicle of Higher Education

To eliminate bias in grading, one university has eliminated the professor from the process.  Instead, adjuncts who have never seen the students grade essay papers so that, theoretically, students cannot be discriminated against for their race or the way they dress.  

One wonders though, how effective such strategies might be at eliminating bias based on language patterns.  After all, students from a working class background (especially if they are from a minority ethnic group) are likely to have patterns of language that aren’t always tolerated in the classroom.  No mention of accommodations for such factors is made in the article about this new process: To Justify Every ‘A,’ Some Professors Hand Over Grading Power to Outsiders – Technology – The Chronicle of Higher Education.


About LingEducator

Dr. Jaclyn Ocumpaugh received a PhD for her dissertation on regional variation in the acoustics of Mexican American English (Michigan State University, East Lansing). Before that, she received an MA in English/Linguistics from North Carolina State University for her work on the acoustics of /r/--a sound which is highly variable in the English language. Her passion, however, has always been to understand the social implications of language variation. In addition to her work in acoustic sociophonetics, she has worked with rape trial analysis, developed cognitive methods for understanding discourse level variation between men and women, and created sophisticated tools for teaching future educators about the kinds of dialect variation they will find in the classroom. She has taught classes in English, Linguistics, and Education at Old Dominion University, William & Mary, the University of Mary Washington, and Virginia Wesleyan College. She is currently a Post Doctoral Fellow of Learning Sciences and Technologies at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, where she is helping to develop models of student engagement in the classroom. She also consults in the private sector.
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