Do you allow revision? Am I too harsh?

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quasicat:
I teach at a CC and a lot of students seemed surprised today to discover that 100/400 points is failing.  One student frantically asked if she could redo her last paper, and I said no.

Most students who did poorly simply did not follow directions for length, formatting, or lost the plot altogether (didn't write to the purpose of the assignment).  They had two weeks or more to do the rather short assignment (two pages) and few or no one asked questions before it was due.

I think they aren't used to being held to any kind of standard. 

They aren't applying corrections I've made on their homework either. 

Am I being too harsh? 

yemaya:
I see two problems.  The first is that you've obviously got a very weak bunch of students if they don't understand that 100 out of 400 is failing.  And if they've gotten to the college level and don't understand that, well, yeah they've probably never been held to any standards.  Some might think I'm too tough, but I actually think that you're doing them a favor by holding the line now.  Be sympathetic, but don't budge.  "I'm sorry that I didn't know that you were unclear about the assignment.  In the future, I strongly encourage you to let me know when you're confused.  That way, we can ensure a better outcome."

This lets the student know that you're not the enemy, but re-inforces the responsibility they have for following instructions, getting help, etc.  If they complain, re-focus them on the sorts of things that will help them improve on subsequent assignments.  You can even invite them to come by your office hours to discuss their feedback if they'd like.  This way, you are helping them to develop tools that they need to be successful beyond their class.

larryc:
I think that rewriting is how students learn to write. On the other hand, who has the time to grade stuff twice? For years, when I had large classes of ill-prepared students, I would make everyone rewrite the first paper. It taught a strong lesson, it vastly improved subsequent student writing, and it saved me time down the road (fewer students as well as better writing).

On the other hand, if it is not in your syllabus you should not be allowing one student an extra advantage. It these kids are really almost all flailing, maybe it is time to hit the course reset button. Let or make everyone do a rewrite. Go over the instructions again. Tell them that if they violate any of these, they will be rewriting to the end of time.

Most students can write better than they normally do write, you just need to scare it out of them.

quasicat:
Quote from: yemaya on March 04, 2013,  5:23:18 PM

I see two problems.  The first is that you've obviously got a very weak bunch of students if they don't understand that 100 out of 400 is failing.  And if they've gotten to the college level and don't understand that, well, yeah they've probably never been held to any standards.  Some might think I'm too tough, but I actually think that you're doing them a favor by holding the line now.  Be sympathetic, but don't budge.  "I'm sorry that I didn't know that you were unclear about the assignment.  In the future, I strongly encourage you to let me know when you're confused.  That way, we can ensure a better outcome."

This lets the student know that you're not the enemy, but re-inforces the responsibility they have for following instructions, getting help, etc.  If they complain, re-focus them on the sorts of things that will help them improve on subsequent assignments.  You can even invite them to come by your office hours to discuss their feedback if they'd like.  This way, you are helping them to develop tools that they need to be successful beyond their class.


I have four or five students who are out and out failing due to absences and not turning in assignments.  I've emailed them to let them know that they cannot turn in missing work after my policy of four calendar days.  Some I haven't seen in 2-3 weeks.  They've been instructed to meet with an adviser and make the decision whether or not to remain in the class or withdraw (I don't recommend either way as their financial aid situation is between them and their adviser.)

Five or six other students are doing poorly but can still technically pass, however unlikely that is.  I've let them know that they have to complete all the work from now and and do higher quality work by following directions and applying skills from the readings and lectures.  I've instructed them to make better use of class time by asking questions, reminded them that I answer emailed questions within 24 hours, and that the tutoring center and my office are open to them for extra assistance. 

I think they are just used to turning something in and having it count. We also have on this campus many students who were passed through high school just for showing up.  With that as a precedent, it doesn't compute that what we're doing in class and what's due through the CMS is really and truly required. 

And yes, they are as poor at math as they are at writing.  They really and truly don't get fractions.

quasicat:
Quote from: larryc on March 04, 2013,  6:12:58 PM

I think that rewriting is how students learn to write. On the other hand, who has the time to grade stuff twice? For years, when I had large classes of ill-prepared students, I would make everyone rewrite the first paper. It taught a strong lesson, it vastly improved subsequent student writing, and it saved me time down the road (fewer students as well as better writing).

On the other hand, if it is not in your syllabus you should not be allowing one student an extra advantage. It these kids are really almost all flailing, maybe it is time to hit the course reset button. Let or make everyone do a rewrite. Go over the instructions again. Tell them that if they violate any of these, they will be rewriting to the end of time.

Most students can write better than they normally do write, you just need to scare it out of them.



They have a peer review built into the process, however I don't know how much they really get out of that.  Most are pretty poor at assessing their own work and that of their classmates. 

I don't look at drafts because my students tend to turn in a paragraph or so and try to pass that off as a draft rather than the last minute, no effort placeholder it really is.  I found myself just writing to them what was already on the assignment prompt. 

For this semester, I'm going to just go with what I have going on in the syllabus.  Those 8-10 that are turning in work and making an effort are passing or doing pretty well.  It's not a total dismal crash and burn.  It's more 50/50. 

Next semester, however, I may allow revisions and average the grades or something like that so the first effort matters, but they can still improve.

I agree with you larryc that rewriting is important.  It's the time factor that's impossible. I seriously have 125 students right now.  I'm a lowly adjunct with no time to breathe and no money.  I have a hard time being sympathetic to students who don't bother to run a spell check in the first place much less any other more in depth type of revision. 

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