It’s almost the end of the fall semester, a time when stu­dents are inor­di­nately focused on one sin­gular number: their final grade. I fear that even as they con­struct their final project, their writing e-​​portfolios, they are so con­cerned with the grade that they miss out on seeing the best parts: their growth over the semester, the diver­sity of genres and per­spec­tives they’ve learned to nav­i­gate, and the risks they’ve taken.

When we’re pushing so hard for the ideal end product we have in our minds, it’s easy to over­look the parts that con­tribute to the whole.

I see traces of myself in the stu­dents who bemoan a B+ (ask any col­lege instructor — it is always the stu­dent who receives a B+ who is most upset, not the stu­dent who gets a C or an F). As impor­tant and nec­es­sary as out­comes are, this is where I see a problem: when these stu­dents ask me how they can get an A, not how they can improve their writing.  TWEETThe final out­come is a product of all the brain­storming, revi­sions, and drafting, and shouldn’t sup­plant every­thing that went into it. They have a dif­fi­cult time seeing that huge improve­ment from a rough draft to a final draft is itself an indi­ca­tion of suc­cess, or that dig­ging into a com­pelling inquiry, espe­cially when they don’t get the answer they expected and the results aren’t neat and tidy, is more impor­tant than playing it safe.

Read the article at WBUR →