Wednesday, July 23, 2014

How I Would Grade Students If I Was a College Professor

By Robert Wenzel

I can't imagine myself slogging through a bunch of papers from college freshman, papers that for the most part would be banal.

Here's what I would do (for real) if I were teaching a college economics course. I would tell everyone in my class that if they wanted a "Libertarian C", all they would have to do is attend all the classes and write out in their own handwriting on a piece of paper the following and submit it instead of a paper at the end of the semester:
Minimum wages cause unemployment among the least skilled.

Central banks, like the Federal Reserve, are responsible for price inflation and the boom-bust business cycle.

The three most underrated economists of the 20th century are Ludwig von Mises, Murray Rothbard and Henry Hazlitt.

Friedrich Hayek was correct when he said that in government the worst get on top.
That is all that would be required in my course to get a grade of C.

If someone actually turned in a paper, the lowest grade they could get, if I didn't think they were copying someone else's work (or having someone else do it), would be a B-.

Since I believe what is most important in economics now is skilled communication of known ideas, as well as advancements in thought. I would only read thoroughly papers that I thought were immediately advancing in at least one of these directions.

If a paper struck me as boring, right from the start, I wouldn't read on and just give the student a B-. If the writing caused me to skim through the pages, the student might get a B+.

If the paper presented known economic theories in an engaging way, that caused me to read the paper, the student would get an A. If the student seemed to be advancing original thought, he would get an A. If a student wrote in an engaging manner AND was advancing original thought, I would give out an A+.

That would be my grading system. If a student enrolled in the class couldn't even go through the effort of writing the four sentences above to get a Libertarian C in the course, I would give him a D, but promise to give him a glowing recommendation for any government jobs he applied for.

Robert Wenzel is Editor & Publisher of EconomicPolicyJournal.comand Target Liberty. He also writes EPJ Daily Alert and is author of The Fed Flunks: My Speech at the New York Federal Reserve Bankand most recently Foundations of Private Property Society Theory: Anarchism for the Civilized Person Follow him on twitter:@wenzeleconomics and on LinkedIn. His youtube series is here: Robert Wenzel Talks Economics. More about Wenzel here.

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