School should adopt uniform anonymous grading system to remove bias

Regardless of the subject, there will always be a level of subjectivity added into the grading process of any submitted assignment. Often, this difference of opinion causes controversy between teacher and student, and students often claim favoritism inequity by the teacher if they receive a grade they don’t agree with.

This problem is easily eliminated through a system of anonymous grading. In the Advanced Placement Psychology course, students are asked to write their student identification number in place of their actual name on free response test questions. Once test responses are submitted, The papers are peer graded and returned to them,w entirely void of subjectivity or favoritism.

The Campanile believes that this system of anonymity should be implemented in all classrooms within Palo Alto High School. By adopting this system, students will no longer have the opportunity to complain about unfair grading by teachers.

Across town, Henry M. Gunn High School already utilizes anonymous grading within several different English courses, eliminating a level of possible teacher bias. In order to ensure that the students of Paly and the teachers who grade their assignments avoid possible altercations due to a claimed bias, student identification numbers should be used throughout all classes that require free response, or anything that does not have a direct solution.

In the past year, the Paly English department has received pushback for not only its plagiarism policy, but also its ambiguous grading guidelines. Many students believe that the process of grading English papers is severely hindered by the subconscious bias that a teacher may have toward a student as a result of their performance and attitude within the classroom. This may also be the case in other academic deparments.

While it is impossible to prove teacher bias, it is just as impossible to disprove this theory of the known identity of a student affecting a teacher’s grading. Anonymity removes all preconceived notions a teacher has of a student and allows for teachers to grade each paper individually, with a student’s past grades having no influence on the outcome of their subsequent assignments.

The Campanile staff has expressed interest in adopting this policy in an attempt to unify Paly’s grading process, and urges Principal Diorio and the administration to consider implementing anonymous grading. Although every teacher will continue to maintain their own grading standards, this policy will ease students’ fears that a teachers unfavorable opinion of them will negatively impact their grade. A teacher’s positive or negative relationship with a student should have no impact on the grading process, a scenario which is avoided through anonymous grading. It is in The Campanile’s opinion that the policy of anonymous grading, which has been executed in AP Psychology and at Gunn and has received positive reviews, should be integrated in all classrooms. Innate biases exist in both students and teachers alike, and removing as much bias as possible ensures complete academic equity and equality.