Desert and appraisal
Imagine that you are grading papers and arrive at a paper from one of your most promising students. Delighted to read something better than the average essay, you excitedly begin to pore over the paper. Your excitement quickly turns to chagrin, however; the paper shows signiﬁcant confusion about the topic and does not manage to develop a coherent thesis. The writing is too hurried and there are numerous grammatical mistakes. You reluctantly think to yourself, ‘I was expecting to give this paper an “A”, but I guess it only deserves a “C”.’ What underlies your thought that the paper does not deserve an ‘A’ but does deserve a ‘C’ is that the aim of grading is to accurately reﬂect the quality of student work. The grade you assign serves as an evaluation, or, we might say, an appraisal, of your student’s performance. Appraisals, then, are representations or evaluations of particular states of affairs.