The grading on my university course was very variable, both in consistency and calrity of exptactations. One I particularly recall was a coding exercise in RPG-III (we were THAT cutting edge!), where we had to construct a curses-like interface on the mainframe (see earler comment regarding cutting edge).
The assignment was to validate user input and ensure consistency in the information input into the back end ‘database’. One student (who also went on to get a first class degree) went the addiitonal mile and addded help ‘popups’ to all the input boxes, and was given 100%. Others who had fulfilled the brief but not gone above got sligtly less (might even be 99%), and they were very upset that a lecturer who was previously of the stated opinion that ‘no one should get 100%’ was not only going against his word, but doing so in a way that had not been indicated was possible (until someone had done it).
This would have been better addressed by a clear marking schedule, stating how the marking was scored and any opportunity for additional merit, even if that was for unspecified ‘out of the box’ solutions.
Interesting to me how similar this is to greg’s story, and how we probably all have a similar version..
This didn’t especially de-motivate me (as I was never an A student and hated working in RPG-III anyway!), but I saw the effect on fellow students.