Too far ahead to take a step back

Today I turned in grades for my students, and I am trying to justify why just about everyone in the class got an A-. Of course, in the humanities, we do not grade on a curve, so we do not intentionally, and artificially,  make 10% of the class get an A, 20% a B, 30% a C, 20% a D, and 10% an F. We are not so draconian about it. But I do believe that papers should be graded by whether they met expectations, exceeded expectations, or were below expectation. The question is, what grade should the papers that "meet expectation" get. Should they get a C? Or perhaps a B? Generally speaking, I think papers that meet expectations get a B or B+, because afterall at a school like Berkeley, our standards are already really high. For clarity, for complexity, for originality, for insight, for proper spelling, punctuation, and word use.


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