Marc Le Menestrel
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Grading of Assignments - IMBA at Shanghai Jiao Tong University

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by Marc Le Menestrel (5/10/2011)

Most of the questions asked in these course call for a subjective opinion. It is therefore especially important, for fairness and pedagogical reasons, to clarify how the grading is carried out. Below is the heuristic I use:

1. I give consideration to the students to be there and handing in a typed response, between 300 and 500 words, on a A4 sheet of paper.

2. I consider the clear expression of an answer to the question asked. This point rewards the effort of taking a stance and formulating an opinon which can be clearly understood and which can constitute a contribution to the debate. It aslo reward the careful reading of the question.

3. I give consideration to the ability to support the answer with a clear and structured reasoning. I like when the argument shows that it draws from the material of the course and/or the required reading(s). It does not mean you have to tell me what is in the readings (I know it) but that you have been able to integrate them in your reasoning.

4. I give consideration to the ability to develop an argument that explicitly shows the limit of your reasoning and goes beyond, for instance by explaining how an opposite opinion could be argued and why. This point rewards your ability to reason with a different point of view than yours.

5. This process of writing and arguing for an opinion and beyond your opinion is a learning process. I give consideration to the ability to synthesize this learning in a refined answer to the question that you started with. Ideally, you answer yourself the "so what?" question.

Many students have not been explictly taught to express and argue for a subjective opinion. On the other hand, leadership in management requires that skill and this is my first objective here. Furthermore, the ability to reason and argue contrary to your opinion can be a valuable skill in order to understand others, manage debates, and act in a way that better encompasses the diversity of opinions on a subject. Finally, the ability to synthesize a learning process is critical for decision skills and this is why I insist on this ability to take a stance, albeit a refined one.

Best wishes!

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