Marking undergraduate assignments sucks
Apr 14, 2008 at 9:50 PM Post #16 of 41

Clutz

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Jaska /img/forum/go_quote.gif
A poorly written and executed paper can effectively mask brilliant ideas that might have been there, and the unfortunate side-effect is that the person responsible for marking the paper will tend to focus chiefly on the mechanics when it comes time to offer evaluative feedback.


Except that it doesn't matter if you have brilliant ideas if you cannot effectively communicate them. If I can't understand what the student's logic and ideas are, then I cannot give them grades to reflect those ideas. Effectively communicating ideas is a skill that these students will need to succeed throughout their careers.
 
Apr 14, 2008 at 10:01 PM Post #17 of 41

saint.panda

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I gave a tutorial and graded physics homework assignments for medicine students for one semester. Monster payment (4 hours a week, $35 an hour), most the students think you're super smart for understanding physics (American AP level physics) and sometimes people would come asking for advice in exchange for coffee. And unlike writing assignments, in physics it's fairly easy to judge right from wrong. Best job I ever had.
 
Apr 14, 2008 at 10:07 PM Post #18 of 41

Jaska

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Clutz /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Except that it doesn't matter if you have brilliant ideas if you cannot effectively communicate them. If I can't understand what the student's logic and ideas are, then I cannot give them grades to reflect those ideas. Effectively communicating ideas is a skill that these students will need to succeed throughout their careers.


I agree. That is why I wrote that when such written works are submitted to me, I have to issue a fair grade, but also work to advise the students how to improve their written communication and offer feedback on their ideas, even if it's difficult for me to decipher them in light of the poorly constructed "wrapper" around them.

When I manage to do this, then these students are (possibly) given some motivation to improve their future work, and some clearly defined performance targets to make the goal of expressing their good ideas more effectively a realistic undertaking.
 
Apr 14, 2008 at 11:01 PM Post #19 of 41

vagarach

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I used to mark papers for the first year class on classical algebra (and all sorts of other rigorous mathematics), and the worst was converting decimals to fractions, as well as trying to find where the proof started and ended!

Plus I had this fixed notion that every question would get marked how I would like mine marked and that meant spending 2x the time than what I was getting paid for
biggrin.gif
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Apr 15, 2008 at 4:00 AM Post #20 of 41

Walie

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I'm reviewing grant proposals for my upcoming class grant panel. Holy cow even grad students can't write decently.

Then again I wrote my grant in 20 hours straight, I wonder how mine is being looked at...
 
Apr 15, 2008 at 6:00 AM Post #22 of 41

dgbiker1

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I TA for a senior engineering and business students and I've also been let down by the quality of their writing. Seeing as I'm an engineer and English is my second language, I don't look for perfectly structured sentences and paragraphs.
But there are basics that are missing all too often. I've noticed the following:
- Formal reports written in first person when they should be written in third person. I've given up on this one... there's just no hope!
- Figures and charts with no labels or units.
- CITATIONS!!!! I see a lot of hand waving or "XXXX says that YYYYY" with no citations. In some cases they will cite a source, but it will be Joe Schmoe's geocities page.
- Ungood grammer speeling
tongue.gif

- No statistics. I realize this isn't a component of strong writing skills, but I can't stand students stating in certain terms the performance of their design with no statistical analysis. They'll write something like "A completed the task in 19.1 sec and B in 19.5, clearly A is better." No... it's not...
frown.gif
 
Apr 16, 2008 at 2:04 AM Post #25 of 41

plainsong

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I had two classes in HS where the teachers cared enough to prepare us for college life: AP US History, and senior English. The senior English teacher warned us she was that TA in college who used to reference check the citations.

At the time I thought it was prep for college but it really was preparation for life.

I've read some stuff that looks like it was written for txt messaging.
 
Apr 16, 2008 at 3:14 AM Post #26 of 41

nick_charles

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Quote:

Originally Posted by dgbiker1 /img/forum/go_quote.gif
.
- CITATIONS!!!! I see a lot of hand waving or "XXXX says that YYYYY" with no citations. In some cases they will cite a source, but it will be Joe Schmoe's geocities page.
- Ungood grammer speeling
tongue.gif

- No statistics. I realize this isn't a component of strong writing skills, but I can't stand students stating in certain terms the performance of their design with no statistical analysis. They'll write something like "A completed the task in 19.1 sec and B in 19.5, clearly A is better." No... it's not...
frown.gif




I am currently grading M.Sc Student papers. The lack of even cursory citations , from most students, is jaw-droppingly depressing. Also, several students just cut and paste whole swathes of text. Fortunately we have access to a rather wonderful plagiarism detection tool.
 
Apr 16, 2008 at 3:44 AM Post #27 of 41

K2Grey

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sry not all of us have time to proofchek everything we write. noone cares neway xexcept nerds
 
Apr 16, 2008 at 4:03 AM Post #28 of 41

The Actual

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Hm.. I am writing a paper this moment - yes by the way head fi is part of the writing process- and I almost wish the graders standards were lower at my school... Oh well. I never get taken off for not being clear and concise but mainly just for not having long enough papers.
Trying to ramble a bit on this one.



Interesting to hear what the other side of the red pen is like. I am sort of looking forward to grad school and grading.
 
Apr 16, 2008 at 4:08 AM Post #29 of 41

Clutz

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Quote:

Originally Posted by K2Grey /img/forum/go_quote.gif
sry not all of us have time to proofchek everything we write.


It's proofread, not "proofchek". Why don't you have time to proofread all of your assignments? Too busy out drinking and partying? I took 6 courses per semester in undergrad and managed to pull a 3.94GPA out of 4 - and I worked another 30 hours per week at my job.

Anyway, if you don't want to proofread your assignments, that's fine - but then don't come back complaining to your TA's because you're being marked too hard. Learn to live with your decisions.

Quote:

Originally Posted by K2Grey /img/forum/go_quote.gif
noone cares neway xexcept nerds


And employers, and customers....
 

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