Monday, March 28, 2011

Proof Read and Strict Markers

First day of Spring Break I spent some time with Lisa and Marlene. Now, they were complaining about the marks they received from their English tutor on the first essay. Of course at first I thought that this was just normal, "I think my work deserved a better mark" grumbling. Then they told me a few of the things their tutor wrote on their essays and it started to sounds more like the tutor is just a really hard grader. You do get those occasionally, so I asked to read one of their papers to see if I could make sense of her comments. I really couldn't. She marks papers in a way I absolutely detest because it confuses me on to how I should improve. What she does is underline and circle words...but fails to mention why she has circled or underlined said words. That frustrates me because the reason I have someone marking my paper is so that I can improve and that kind of marking makes it very confusing as to what I need to do to improve. Both got little ticks in the boxes at the "needs improvement side". Here's my "Assignment Appraisal Sheet" for our unassessed exercise. I got a 15 (on a CAS scale of 1-20) which I thought was impressive because I wrote it the morning it was due. *nods* I MEAN! I spent weeks and weeks on it and did extensive research. I slaved over the computer and didn't go out until it was finished...yeah...that one. Though, if you look at the little ticks I think I deserved at least a 16, but I'm not complaining. Anyway, their ticks were all to the right which includes things like "Failure to address the question" and "failure to develop and coherent argument". I read one of the papers and, while I wouldn't have given it over a 16 and I could see the points the tutor made in some parts of the essay, I definitely wouldn't have said that she "failed to address the question" or "failed to develop a coherent argument". It wasn't like a shinning argument that would change the course of the world, but it was pretty coherent.

Then I heard the marks they got and realised they both went down 5 marks from last semestre. That just seems a little fishy to me...unless their writing really, really went down from last semestre.

Then I read the comments she made on one of their papers. She made some comments about grammar. But do you know what I first zoomed in on?

Do you see what I zoomed in on? No? Well, here's a close up then

I don't think it's just the students who need to proof read. I always think it's funny when a teacher says pay attention to grammar and something like this appears in their comments. Especially when they were so adamant about how the paper wasn't all that good.

Really though, I think what bothered (at least Lisa) the most was that when she asked how she could make the argument clearer the tutor said, "Oh, I don't know. I don't really know why I circled those words and why it's unclear, it just is." (or something to that effect) Bad marking? Maybe. She might just be strict, but she should at least be able to say how the students can improve. I mean, that's why we hand in the essays...well, besides the fact that we would fail the course if we didn't.

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