My Grading System

My recent article about Thor: The Mighty Avenger marked my 51st review. Oops: I meant to stop and look back at them when I reached number 50, but I guess I wasn’t counting carefully enough. 51 will have to do.

The friends that I’ve talked to don’t always know what to make of my grades. We’re all used to grade inflation, and it’s easy to assume that anything less than an A is a bad review. So I’ve added an explanation on the right-hand side of the blog showing exactly what the grades mean. I’ve also created a separate page with a detailed break-down for each +/- modifier. I don’t know that I’ve been completely consistent so far, but I now have a written standard, complete with questions I can ask myself to decide what grade I’d give something.

In short, remember that while As may be excellent, a B still means that I’m recommending something. It may have some flaws, but I explain the good and bad points in my review. That should help you figure out whether the good will outweigh the bad for you, keeping in mind that it did for me.

I was also curious about exactly how my 51 grades so far break down. More details below the cut.

A 4
A- 5
B+ 9
B 8
B- 10
C+ 4
C 3
C- 6
D+ 1
D 1
D- 0
F 0

My grades are definitely skewed towards the high end overall. That’s to be expected, since this is a hobby of mine. I’ve personally chosen to buy almost everything here (or ask for it as a gift, etc) because I expected to like it. If I didn’t usually enjoy my hobbies, I’d have probably stopped long ago. Were I to review a truly random selection of new releases, I’m not sure if the average would even be a C.

That said, my average grade will probably shift slightly downward in the future. Now that I’ve defined standards for my grades, there are a few As and Bs that seem a little generous to me. None of the ones so far look like they need to be shifted upwards.

The next 50 grades will probably be a lot slower in coming. I started off the year by reviewing 19 books and 12 games from 2010, so I’ve only found 20 new things to review in the past two-and-a-half months. That sounds about right, and 10 new grades per month is probably a sustainable pace for me. (Note that sometimes, I grade multiple things at once. My 51st review appeared in my 28th blog post, and a few of those posts didn’t review anything.)

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