The Instigator
Amyj17
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Pfalcon1318
Con (against)
Winning
11 Points

Teachers should not be allowed to have philosophical questions graded

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Post Voting Period
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after 2 votes the winner is...
Pfalcon1318
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/30/2014 Category: Education
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 462 times Debate No: 53752
Debate Rounds (3)
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Votes (2)

 

Amyj17

Pro

Too many times have teachers given me the X on answers that are purely opinionated. I would like the con to give their own opinion and evidence to explain why this is except able, because from what I can tell opinionated questions do not rate knowledge in factual context.
Pfalcon1318

Con

I would like to thank PRO for instigating this debate. However, I would like to caution them against Shifting the Burden of Proof. It rests upon PRO to argue for the truth of the resolution.

Moving forward. The resolution states that, "Teachers should not be allowed to have philosophical questions graded." A better phrasing for this resolution is, "Teachers should not be able to grade answers to philosophical questions."

Being a college student, I could not disagree more with this statement, and I shall provide a few reasons why. The primary reason is that, in generally, these grades are given in relation to the support given for the answer provided by the student. This means that simple, one-word Yes-No answers are not going to be worth much. Multiple--choice questions (in the traditional A-B-C-D, True-False, or Matching) do not need any defense. In general, there is only one correct answer. Although, sometimes, more than one answer can be argued for, either due to ambiguity of the question, or information provided by the teacher counter to the "correct' answer, or even teacher disagreement with the phrasing of the question. The reasons are innumerable, however, it should be obvious that with these questions, there is little to no variability. If "A. Recognition" is the answer to "Multiple questions qualify as what form of memory?" then it is the only answer. However, if this same teacher has a question "Are our experiences related more to our genetics or our environment?", the answers could be quiet varied, and even oppositional. This is a question that psychologists have been discussing for quite some time, and some argue that it is our nature that dictates our actions, while others argue it is our nurturing that dictates our actions. Psychology, as a subject, is more uncertain than certain. Subjects like math, science, and any of their variations are often quite certain. Subjects like language arts, psychology and theology are much less certain. It is primarily in these such classes, where uncertainty is much more prevelant than certainty, that teachers will add on a "Why?" or "...and explain" to the end of the free response questions that they ask, though sometimes the more certain subjects do this as well. In language arts classes, and some theology classes, textual evidence is almost a requirement to effectively answer the question. It is for this reason that it makes more sense for teachers to grade philosophical free response questions.

Multiple choice questions, in any form, are almost always effectively answered. Barring the arguable questions and answers provided with and to them, multiple choice questions do not have much variability to the answers that can be correct, and the reasons as to why they are correct. Free response questions are much more complex. Even in classes which focus on statistical analysis, free response questions are graded based on effective answers. When you begin discussing the truly uncertain, like philosophical things (such things as whether or not we have souls, what makes men and woman act as they do, why race is or is not an issue, and other such questions), you necessarily enter a realm where support must be given, otherwise you have not effectively answered the question. All opinions can be supported, even those based upon bias and prejudice, and this is generally the thought process behind grading free response questions. When grades to free response questions are viewed through a lens of effectiveness analysis (meaning the teacher is grading the student based on their ability to answer effectively), then we understand why teachers actually should grade such questions.

We can then understand why some students do not recieve high grades on questions that are based on opinion. Those open ended, free-response questions that teachers provide normally do have too many possible answers, and often times no "correct" answer. Being that multiple choice questions have the capacity to be guess-and-check or guess-and-pray, other forms of questioning must be utilized. These other, normally open-ended questions, can not be said to have a "correct answer". If the question, "Who is the true hero of Faulkner's As I Lay Dying?", then students' opinions will differ greatly. Now, if we assume that free response questions are given to test something other than recognition memory (as multiple choice questions do), and can not have correct answers. what are we left with? We are left with also assuming that teachers need to grade something outside of the correctness of the answer. This something else generally falls in the realm of support. Whether in essays, test free-response questions, or even every-day discussion, supporting an opinion with reasons and evidence leads to a more effective answer to a question than not supporting that opinion with reasons and evidence.
Debate Round No. 1
Amyj17

Pro

Amyj17 forfeited this round.
Pfalcon1318

Con

My opponent has not posted for Round 2. I extend all of my arguments.
Debate Round No. 2
Amyj17

Pro

Amyj17 forfeited this round.
Pfalcon1318

Con

My arguments stand. Please vote CON.
Debate Round No. 3
No comments have been posted on this debate.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by The_Gatherer 3 years ago
The_Gatherer
Amyj17Pfalcon1318Tied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro forfeited. Con made very good arguments addressing the debate question.
Vote Placed by Burncastle 3 years ago
Burncastle
Amyj17Pfalcon1318Tied
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: FF, plus Con's argument is pretty good.