Here’s a short list of places that eliminate the whole grade issue in favor of actual intellectual development:
Reed College (?)
New College of Florida
Warren Wilson College (?)
Downside: A narrative transcript can be slanted (accidentally or deliberately) in much the way a job evaluation can be. Perhaps an ideal would include some combination?
Some of these schools can/do include letter grades alongside narrative transcripts.
Maybe if the state universities started adding narrative transcripts for each course. . .
“X is quite charming, but prefers to text-message while others take notes during class. Knowledgeable end user of Facebook/MySpace; however, has no marketable web design skills. With demonstration over time of good work habits, could become a productive member of the academic community; at this time, does not yet demonstrate the level of responsibility required of entry-level office intern. Needs to get serious about the intellectual enterprise.”
Wait a minute.
Suppose a written evaluation of the student as student, carefully worded, along with a prescribed course of action, were handed out at midterm?
We already write evaluations on each paper. Why not an overall narrative evaluation of each aspect of the grade, at midterm?
That’s a lot of work.
That might require an “attitude rubric.” Attitude, after all, does affect one’s grade. Perhaps it should be graded.