In an attempt to make grading more fair, some of IMSA’s humanities teachers opt to grade essays submitted by their students blindly. In other words, the writers’ names are concealed in such a way that the teacher does not see them until the paper has been fully assessed and a grade assigned. The idea is that even if the teacher has, consciously or not, a few favorite students in the class, he or she is not able to allow this favoritism to affect his or her grading.
Although this system is based on good intentions, it blinds the teacher from other factors that should be taken into consideration when assessing any academic assignment. For instance, when a student pays careful attention in class, asks questions frequently, and comes in to see the teacher, shouldn’t his or her essay be graded from a more favorable perspective, given all the effort he or she has put into the assignment? By blinding themselves to the students’ identities, teachers also unintentionally blind themselves to the dedication that sets certain students apart from others.
Additionally, individual writing styles are unique to each student. Some students enjoy using a wealth of descriptive words, for instance; others might consistently favor wordy sentences over clipped ones. The more any reader is exposed to an individual’s writing style, the more familiar he or she becomes with it, and the less “blind” any assessment of it can become. Thus, it is difficult to ascertain whether this sort of grading truly strips the essays being graded of identity.
Blind grading might be intended for noble purposes, it does not and cannot do what it is intended to do because it is unintentionally unfair. Keep the name on the essay; let the writer’s identity assist, rather than hinder, the fair assessment of papers.