If you see a whole thing - it seems that it's always beautiful. Planets, lives... But up close a world's all dirt and rocks. And day to day, life's a hard job, you get tired, you lose the pattern. - Ursula K. LeGuin

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Agony of Grading

Just finished grading papers from my undergraduate course. I required a first draft and gave them extensive feedback. Here are a few stats:
  • 5 out of the 35 felt handing in the draft was optional (it wasn't)
  • So far it seems 4 out of the 35 think handing in the final is optional
  • 2 students fit categories 1 & 2 above
  • Of the 31 I received, 6 were plagiarized
  • Approximately 1/3 of the papers were either excellent in the draft or improved--maybe not to excellent but still substantial
  • Not counting those who plagiarized, a handful actually got worse and many stayed the same.
  • I offered extra credit just for visiting the writing center between the draft and the final--6 took me up on it.
Tomorrow they get the bad news. The last chance to withdraw from the class without penalty is fast approaching and I'll be encouraging several to do just that.

4 comments:

Seeking Solace said...

It is truly amazing how they are able to think that the due date is a suggestion.

MFA Mama said...

Oh, I loved this one! You could have been talking about MY little chickens there, although I've only busted one plagiarist so far this semester (either I'm slipping or word is out that I'm hell on plagiarists; I fail them for the semester and boot them out of class). I am dying under a giant pile of student work right now...and yes, the withdraw date approaches. I'll probably suggest to about a quarter of them that they consider withdrawing, and probably only half of those will do so. Of the other half, maybe ONE from each class will pull it together, go to the writing center, and end up with a respectable grade (or at least one high enough to transfer to a four-year school). The rest will fail and then ask the day before the semester ends if they can do something for extra credit and end up blaming me. Wheee!

Annie K said...

It must be frustrating when you give them all the information they need to succeed, and they don't listen, or they don't utilize your advice, or take you up on the option of extra credit. But, you've got the responsible students to feel good about. Plagiarism- it amazes me any one would even try, and the person doesn't have the integrity to synthesize information, and credit sources.

Julie said...

My hat is off to you for dealing with all the slackers. As a writer, I think plagiarists are among the lowest form of scum in the pond. I guess some students do it out of ignorance (maybe). It's still one of my pet peeves and makes my blood boil just thinking about it. I've had work stolen before, and I can't even describe how horrible it felt. I hope things get better for you!