Between Mortal and God

Between Mortal and God

"A 10 is reserved for the gods", is the wisdom ingrained after years in the Dutch education system

17-04-2024 · Column

"Grades released," a notification that usually knots my stomach. "Don't fixate on the grade; it's about what you learn from the class", I remind myself, echoing the mantra of many tutors throughout my university journey. In my opinion an easy statement to make when sitting on the grading end rather than receiving it.

Only for the gods

Nervously, I guide my cursor toward the score field. I don't know what to hope for. This is one of my first submissions on my semester abroad in the US. In Maastricht, my hope rarely exceeded a 7, maybe an 8 if I feel optimistic. "A 10 is reserved for the gods", is the wisdom ingrained after years in the Dutch education system. I know a girl who once got a 9.5, and I don't think I've ever seen her relaxed.

My homework was to hand in an article, based on an interview I had to conduct a week before. I am aware that my submission is not bad, but also not flawless and I am not sure what my professor's expectations are. So I click on my grade, mentally preparing for anything below a 7. My screen shows 10/10. Something must be wrong.


"Excellent work", the feedback from my professor says, "I made some suggestions for improvement." I turn to my classmate. “How can I get full points for something that needs improvement?” "Well, the assignment said, 'interview someone and write an article,' and you did all of that, right?" she says. That's true, but the same effort back in Maastricht would have gotten me an eight, max.

At my host university, I have multiple graded assignments each week. Individually, they contribute a small percentage to the overall grade, but the grading is notably more lenient. The approach seems to be 'You did everything that we asked you to do, we can see you put effort into it, and the end result is good, so why not give you full points?'


For me, this has taken some pressure off receiving grades, which allowed me to focus more on what I learn because I know if my professor sees that I put effort into it and I did everything required, I will get a 10. No need to become superhuman or even a god. And don't worry, the workload ensures that there is still enough stress left even without the one about grades.

Line-Marie Eichhorst, student at UCM



Author: Redactie

Photo: Joey Roberts

Tags: grade,god,ten,linemarie,line-marie

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