The class presentations were all good. They all covered the requested material, lasted about the appropriate length of time, and involved everyone in the group. If I were judging on a traditional rubric, they may all even have received a 100% (unless I was judging based on "creativity" or some other immeasurable quality). But that's the problem...all the projects were merely good. With one exception, everyone played it extremely safe, did the relative minimum and seemed bored while presenting. At the conclusion of the presentations yesterday, I informed the class I was pleased with their work, but not in any way impressed. They seemed offended initially, but I think towards the end they realized it was true. "Not impressed" doesn't always mean the same as "disappointed". Sometimes it just means that the bar is higher than they originally thought.
Going forward, it'll be interesting to see if their goals shift. Some will surely be content to be "good", but others hopefully will see "impressive" as an achievable goal they can still reach. Thankfully, sometimes just a small tweak can make the difference between "good" and "great".