Sunday, December 5, 2010

On Grading

The end of the semester approaches, and I find myself buried in papers and (soon) final exams. I say this not as an excuse for a coming slowdown in posting (I actually think I'll finish the '80s before Christmas), but to explain a new policy here: I've got grades on the brain, and I'm going to start assigning letter grades to the works I review.

I originally decided not to include any sort of rating because I considered these posts to be more off-the-cuff responses or brief musing than formal reviews. I still think that's the case, but, considering that a lot of my day job consists of assigning arbitrary-seeming ratings to other people's hard work, it comes pretty naturally to me now. And, I think it will resolve two minor issues going forward: 1) as the number of works I review builds and builds, it will help to encapsulate and record my initial responses to everything for my own future reference. 2) It might clear up my views of works. I do think I have a tendency to write negative-sounding reviews of works that I thoroughly enjoyed because I want to focus on a minor, but interesting, flaw, or because I expected more.

So, future reviews will conclude with a letter grade, and I'm going to go back and edit in grades for previous reviews.

The scale is:
A = excellent, a classic
B = good, interesting but somehow flawed
C = average, a mixed bag
D = poor work with a few redeeming qualities
F = an absolute failure, all around

I expect that grades lower than a B- will be rare among these award winners. Let me know if you hate what I'm doing (or how I'm doing it).

1 comment:

  1. The grades sound like a reasonable next step now that you're amassing a lot of reviews. I find it helpful to group books into ranks/grades for ease of reference later - for you and anyone else looking at your reviews.