Friday, January 13, 2006

Grading Gems

Okay, like any graduate student, I'm excellent at procrastinating. So I'm still trying to "catch up" with my blogging from last December. (even though I'm already one week into the new semester.) But still, I just couldn't resist sharing these grading gems. Right after my defense, I was just too mentally and physically exhausted to grade all those exams I brought on the plane. Plus there were friends to see, lunches to eat, coffees to drink! All (mostly) guilt-free!

When I returned home I had two full days to read all the exams and compute the final grades. Not fun, but certainly possible. Does anyone else get really cranky when grading? I have to continually remind myself that the students did not sit down to their bluebooks with the intention of annoying me. But I probably compound the cranky-factor with my choice of an essay question: The Civil Rights Movement. In USII, I devote quite a bit of time to this subject, and it is also a subject that is important to me personally -- especially after spending a week in Mississippi and Memphis this summer. And I must also add that the students knew ahead of the time that the essay would focus on the Civil Rights Movement. Yet I still get some really bad essays. Here are some winners in a few categories:

Word Choice:
"The black power statement made by Charmichael (sic) was a good thing because it got people riled up and ready to go on a march or riot or whatever they were doing that day." [RIOT?? Where did he get that word???]

Unclear on the Concept: (of the danger African-Americans faced in the South):
"One thing that I thought they could have done better was to protect themselves and their families more. I thought they could have done more to protect their communities instead of letting crazy white men drive through and hurl bombs into homes or squeeze off a few rounds into a house. They could have set up neighborhood watches or something."

Anthropomorphization (not Civil Rights-related; this is an identification of Silent Spring):
"This happened in 1962 and was a book written by Rachel Carson. This book came out of Pensilvania (sic) and made its way up to Washington DC."

That one had me laughing for a while -- not only did they get the direction wrong (up to Washington DC?) but I just imagined a book slowly shuffling along the interstate, perhaps trying to hitchhike?

15 Comments:

At 9:20 AM, Blogger Dr. Mon said...

Lord have mercy.

 
At 8:01 PM, Blogger Unsane said...

I wish the book I'd written would do that sort of shuffle.

 
At 8:05 PM, Blogger Kristiface said...

Awesome.

 
At 11:05 PM, Blogger Rufus said...

My favorite ever was an entire essay arguing that the Western Roman Empire fell due to the industrial revolution. A week later, the student came to my office hours arguing that he should have gotten 100% for that essay.

 
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