Posted on August 16, 2019

American University Holds Training Session on Avoiding Single Standard Grading to Achieve ‘Antiracist’ Objectives

Jonathan Turley,, August 15 2019

American University has brought in an academic from the University of Washington-Tacoma with a curious mission for an academic institution: to teach academics not to grade on the writing ability of students as opposed to their “labor.” Professor Asao Inoue believes that writing ability should not be assessed to achieve “antiracist” objectives.

Inoue is the director of the UW-Tacoma Writing Center and has {snip} has insisted that professors who use a single neutral standard for all students are perpetuating racism: “[using] single standard to grade your students’ languaging, you engage in racism. You actively promote white language supremacy, which is the handmaiden to white bias in the world.”

He also previously declared: “I stand up here today asking everyone to listen, to see, to know you as you are, to stop saying shit about injustice while doing jack shit about it. We are all needed in this project, this fight, this work, these labors. But because most in the room, in our disciplines, are white, I have to speak to them too, many of whom sit on their hands, with love in their hearts, but stillness in their bodies.”

The thrust of Inoue’s lectures appear to be a “labor” focused grading system that expressly rejects uniformity of a single defined standard — the touchstone of academic work for generations. {snip}

{snip} Inoue’s views are not simply extreme but in my view inimical to the academic mission of most universities. It also does a disservice to students who overall show falling writing abilities. These students are not going to be evaluated in their careers by their “labor” or given tailored standards. They will be compared according to their objective abilities. {snip}