Tuesday, October 27, 2009

It's a Mystery

Why do students think that adding three sentences to a D paper will turn it into an A paper?

I have my students highlight their revisions, so it's easy to actually visualize the additions they've made. (For big changes, they can just write at the top that they've changed everything. I have the graded draft to compare.)


  1. D is a mystery. I certainly tell my students that moving a sentence (eg, the thesis) from the end to the beginning of the paper can take it from B/C level to A level, and that adding a few key sentences can make a big difference---but not all the way from a D. I mean, if a paper has that many ingredients, it doesn't get a D.

    This is actually one of my grading guidelines---if I could fix the paper that easily, I feel bad penalizing too heavily.

  2. I love the idea of having the highlight what they revise!! I'm going to do that next time around.

    I love the ones who get a D on a draft -- and turn in the same paper, often with the same typos. If the draft was a D (graded as a draft..), then what am I supposed to give the "final" version.. an H? -- (F is just too much credit at that point :)).

  3. No concept of how writing works? Way too much faith in good-will and charity? The belief that any extra effort counts? Just plain idiocy? That's my bet.

  4. human9:04 AM

    Ha! I know. I had my students write revision memos for their most recent paper. I got a lot of "I changed my paper around completely." Uh, no you didn't. I have your draft RIGHT HERE. You added two sentences here and three sentences there and fixed a few spelling and grammar errors (but only the ones I marked for you).

    Or maybe they just have a different conception of what "revision" means.

  5. Ye gads...

    I've had conferences this week with my students, and I'm getting a lot of "I was an A student in high school, so I don't know why you think I deserve a C." I had offered an additional chance to revise papers at one point, and only two people took me up on the offer. That's why people are C students -- no effort.

    I totally love the highlighting idea. I may steal that for future classes.