Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by jimwe, Aug 26, 2001.

  1. jimwe

    jimwe Member

    "Well, I haven't attended a "gradeless institution" yet, but I am seriously considering attending Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA USA at which student performance is based solely on teacher evaluation."

    This was taken from a post on Dave's ESL Cafe,

    What is this about no grades, just teacher evaluationS, is this for real?!? What is to stop someone from greasing a few palms for a few A's? This sounds like some of the "feel good" study whatever you want to study garbage of the 1960's!
  2. Partly -- there are no grades, but there's more to the process than just teacher evaluations. From

    "At the end of a program, students discuss their academic progress one-on-one with faculty, and they receive written evaluations of their progress. Students also prepare self-evaluations, discussing their accomplishments, learning environment, new understandings and goals for the future. Students also evaluate their faculty."

    Evergreen State College is accredited by the Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges, and it's been rated highly in U.S. News & World Report’s annual rankings.

    Perhaps the fact that there are no A's? And that students must write thoughtful evaluations of their own work and of their faculty, rather than passively wait to get whatever grade they might get.

    Narrative evaluation can be a useful educational tool. Students take a more active role in their education. Like any tool, it can be misused -- that doesn't appear to be the case at Evergreen.

    Kristin Evenson Hirst
  3. BillDayson

    BillDayson New Member

    I like the idea of written evaluations myself, at least in theory.

    But in practice I guess it takes a lot more work on the professor's part, if the evaluations are to be anything more than inane. And the evaluations are hard to quantify for GPA purposes.

    As far as abuse goes, I don't see why it would be any more prevalant with evaluations than with grades. You can try to bribe your instructor in a conventionally graded class too.

    I guess ideally one could have a combination of the two systems, letter grades accompanied by written comments. That might be better than the letters of recommendation that accompany graduate applications now.
  4. John Bear

    John Bear Senior Member

    I can't speak for Evergreen, but I'm aware that some, perhaps most, of the colleges have the reputation of not grading do, in fact, grade -- they just don't tell the students. Reed, where I spent my first three years, is/was such a place. The founder said, "Grades are a false goal of education." But other schools said, "How can we evaluate applications for transfer or graduate school unless we can compare your students with those from other schools." So Reed did in fact record letter grades; they were simply not available to the students until after graduation or departure.

    Incidentally, my co-author and eldest daughter Mariah went to Evergreen as an 11th-grade drop-out. But she transfered to Berkeley after a year, saying that Evergreen was too much like her counter-culture high school in Mendocino. As she put it, "Going out on the lawn under the full moon, holding hands, leaping in the air, and shouting 'Yafatah' -- that was a big deal for some Evergreen people, but we'd done that in high school for years."
  5. geoduck

    geoduck New Member

    At Evergreen at the end of each quarter the student writes a significant self-evaluation and the instructor writes an evaluation of the student. Then you both meet to talk about it. The student can then append the teacherÕs comments with their own. The process is not easy, but requires students to set tangible learning goals which then serve as the criteria for that later evaluation.

    The bribery piece would be laughed out at the schoolÑit is just not the "competitive" environment found at most colleges. Each student is competing with their individual self. If you donÕt do the work, you wonÕt get the credits.

    Evergreen is a great school for those with self-discipline.
  6. Ian Anderson

    Ian Anderson Active Member

    The University of California at Santa Cruz had (and may still have) a gradeless system.
  7. John Bear

    John Bear Senior Member

    Welcome to "Geoduck" from one of the nine people here (wild guess) who knows how to pronounce "geoduck."
  8. Tom Head

    Tom Head New Member

    Hey, don't be shellfish with that information!


    Tom Head
  9. Bill Hurd

    Bill Hurd New Member

    Very punny!

    "The Gooey Duck Song," a hymn to bivalves penned by Ron Konzak and Jerry Elfendahl:

    "Well, he hasn't got a front and he hasn't got a back,
    He doesn't know Donald and he doesn't go quack,
    Digga duck, digga duck, digga digga gooey duck . . ."

    After singing this song a few times, each rendition chased with a can of Olympia, I can see Evergreen's love for the silly looking thing.
  10. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Inside information has it that the pronunciation is: Gee-Oh-Dook, the latter syllable has a slight German accent. However, most students say: Gee, A Duck!

  11. Not to carp, but I've heard a different pronunciation. And just for the halibut I bet one slightly used Powerball ticket that I'm in the nine with John.
  12. PCap

    PCap New Member

    They've always been called Gooey Duck in my neck of the woods,or rather beach,but also (excuse me)Piss Clams.........
  13. Nosborne

    Nosborne New Member

    I grew up eating these peculiar clams. We always called them "gooeyducks" and that is the pronunciation contained in "The Egg and I", Betty MacDonald's classic Northwest autobiography.
    I have a daughter at Nevergreen State College even as I write. I am an alumnus of St. Martin's College, the private institution in the same "metro" area, Olympia, Lacey, Tumwater. We always called it "TESC Tech".
    Judging by my daughter, it's a good program for self-directed people.
  14. Bill Hurd

    Bill Hurd New Member

    John really hooked us on this one, didn't he? Having said that, I will now clam up.

    Bill H
  15. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Kip Adotta lives!
  16. Tom Head

    Tom Head New Member

    (And can now be found on the web, if anybody's interested! [​IMG])


    Tom Head
  17. samc79

    samc79 New Member

    In 1996, UCSC got rid of their gradeless system.

    Sam C
    UCI 2002
    [email protected]
    Confusion is just the path to insight and knowledge
  18. Chip

    Chip Administrator

    Oberlin College offers something close: credit/no-entry grading for all courses, at the option of the student.

    It's similar to pass/fail, except that if the student fails the course, there is no record on the student's transcript that the course was attempted. (This is also true of letter-graded courses; the grading system is A+ to C-; a grade of NE (no entry) is given to any student whose work level is below C-.)

    The idea is to permit students who highly value GPA to be able to experiment with a course they might not necessarily do well in, without harming their GPA. The system occasionally comes under fire, but has worked quite well for many years. A rather strict probation system prevents students from slacking off entirely; failure to pass 10 or 12 credits per semester (don't remember for sure) will land a student on academic probation; a second such infraction usually requires a one-year break from Oberlin before the student may return.

    Students can also request a written evaluation of his/her performance in any course by submitting a request to the registrar before the add-drop deadline.

    And, before you start thinking that it's a school for slackers, Oberlin is historically ,a very selective liberal arts school with pretty extreme academic rigor... so, with a few exceptions, students generally don't take advantage of the system.

    Unfortunately, Oberlin doesn't offer distance learning... its president made a rather pompous announcement several years ago to the effect that Oberlin would never stoop that low. (God forbid they should stoop to offering something that would be found at lowlife programs like Harvard and Duke)

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