The Perfect Grade

I have experienced something recently that is so new and very surprising. I just finished my first class working towards achieving my Doctor of Psychology; it’s been fun but very intriguing as well.

I was pleasantly shocked to receive all of the points possible during the first three weeks of class. Trust me, that had NEVER happened to me before and at first I was really pumped and motivated. But let’s put this into perspective in the grand scheme of my less than esteemed educational career.

When I went to OU straight out of high school I had no clue what I wanted to do but be FREE! I had always been an average student and did just fine getting the job done – no real motivation, just chugging along. So OU was really no different except for the many times I studied at the last minute and prayed for a C, and was elated at a B unless it was in my major French. Useless – oh yeah, fun and entertaining – you betcha. Easy – absolutely; I pick up languages quite easily. So I graduated with a 2.97 – yeah, a little disappointed not to squeak out a 3.0, but I didn’t lose any sleep over it.

Twenty-one years later when I started working on my MBA I did put more effort into it because I only had class on Monday. No big sweat – Sunday my friends and I would study together for a few hours on the phone in a teleconference and on the computer. I was pleasantly rewarded with A’s with a minimum effort and with some great study partners. I was happy to graduate with a 3.73 and shocked my patents to death (it makes a difference when YOU are paying for it and YOU are married and not out for just fun!!).

So when I started this doctorate thing in November I was a little hesitant because it’s the “big kahuna” in education. I told myself to enjoy it and do my best but planned not to kill myself. Well….. it’s been A LOT more work than I expected so yeah, I was fired up to be going into week 4 of 6 with 100% of all points possible in my bank.

Week four I cratered under the pressure I was putting on MYSELF to keep that stupid average up; I had worked myself in a dither, suffered writer’s block and just could NOT get what I was to do that week. I was NOT a happy kamper (pun intended). I love the study of psychology – I had finally pin pointed my area of passion in education and I was freaking out over the damn perfect score hanging over my head. It had taken all the fun out of school and I’d lost my motivation because I am NOT a perfect student and now someone was treating me like I was – so strange.

The moral to this story is something that has bothered me for years; you can ask my former students and employees that work with me – I do NOT agree with assigning numerical values on what a person has learned in class, nor on how well an employee performs. To me it is not relevant to the process of learning or working. It can cause lack of interest, motivation, performance anxiety and SUCKING UP. I do not believe that entrance exams such as the SAT, ACT, GRE, GMAT, MCAT, and LSAT prove anything about how someone will perform in class and I think the tests are discriminatory. People can very easily study to pass a test – I’ve taken and passed two difficult professional certification exams because I knew what would be covered in the exams. Do you think I could recite the Bill of Rights today? Heck no – I could the day I needed to though so that’s what mattered. Did I learn the prep material – well no, it’s called memorization and practice exams. Did I feel like I displayed what I really knew – no.

What do you think about the traditional grading system and standardized entrance exams? I’d love to hear from you!!

BTW I don’t know what my final grade is yet; however I hope it’s not 100/100. I don’t want that pressure to take the fun away. I’m doing this to LEARN and IMPROVE my professional writing style. Who knows what will happen – I’ll keep you posted. One thing is for sure, the pressure is gone – I’m not a perfect student and I don’t want to be. I’m still a “seat of my pants” kinda gal & want to stay that way!

Blessings my friends –
Kim – formerly known as the part-time slacker! 