An Attempted Quaker Theology of Grading

I am currently taking on the largest load of credits that I have to date, and am the Teacher’s Assistant for New Testament I at George Fox Evangelical Seminary. I will be posting more often, but still fairly sporadically.

The following is an excerpt from a paper reflecting on my first grading experience and the theological issues that I discerned. I would love to hear feedback from other Friends involved in teaching.

The underlying theological issues in grading have to do with accountability. I am seeing grades as a tool that holds us accountable to doing our best in the circumstances we are in. The grades in themselves don’t necessarily make us do well or work hard, but the desire to do one’s best “as unto the Lord” motivates us and can be a tool that keeps students and teachers on track. In addition when we teach, we can also learn from our students “according to the measure of light they received from [Christ].”[1]One of the most important tasks really is to model the joy in learning about God’s work throughout history, the scriptures, and the ways God is active in the world we interact with every day. These two tasks together are what make up grading on a theological level: modeling a deep love of the things of God and holding each student accountable to that “measure of light” they have been gifted with.

[1] Isaac Pennington, An Inquiry after Truth and Righteousness (Reading, England: by the author, 1671), (accessed 9/26/2011).



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