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View Diary: Teachers' Lounge: What is an "A"? (62 comments)

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  •  Yeah yeah yeah put the work in (2+ / 0-)
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    annetteboardman, kurt

    blah blah blah.

    I get A's on papers (and I'm an English major) that I write the day before they're due. One of the advantages to being a really friggin' smart college student who also happens to be 48 and has written his whole life. I can write anything. And essay questions on tests? Thank goodness for 'em. Even if I botch an ID or two because I didn't study, I can count on full marks on the essay. (If it's a research paper, I do actual work on the research part, but if I can't write a page per half-hour and still get an A, there's something wrong :)).

    "Hard work is for people who are short on talent"--George Carlin :D

    So, how do I get A's? GTPWTW. Give The Professor What They Want. Easy, really--but, then again, I also read the directions :). And the actual mechanics of writing academic papers--grammar, style, flow--comes as natural to me as breathing.

    Now, when I was student-teaching last semester, I did rubrics. I followed those rubrics quite closely when I was grading. However, the ones who didn't at least get Bs...they didn't follow the directions. Give Me What I Want, and you get a B. The difference between B up to A is how well you gave me what I wanted.

    "Maybe: it's a vicious little word that could slay me"--Sara Bareilles

    by ChurchofBruce on Sat Mar 30, 2013 at 08:35:09 PM PDT

    •  Last class I taught (2+ / 0-)
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      annetteboardman, ChurchofBruce

      This was in 1975, a second semester calculus course. It was an evening class and the students were mostly older than college age.
      It soon became evident that students wanted to see how little work they could get by with. The department gave me a homework assignment list, so I did assign homework. When I entered the classroom there would be few or no homework papers turned in. I would ask "Are there any homework papers?" and papers would start trickling in. I was a bit cautious, because there was a possibility everyone would drop the couse. I thought about asking "Do you know what I would do if I were a member of this class?" "I would turn in every homework paper and probably make the highest grade."
      Well, when it came time to award grades, it was almost all C's, with a sprinking of B's and D's. No A's. I don't recall any F's. This was in a time of grade inflation, when some colleagues of mine were giving all A's.

      Censorship is rogue government.

      by scott5js on Sat Mar 30, 2013 at 09:17:05 PM PDT

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      •  Where I teach, math homework mandatory. (1+ / 0-)
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        scott5js

        Where I teach, giving and checking math homework is mandatory.  You can get away with giving full marks if the student worked on the problem

        Homework is only 15% of the grade, however.  The average grade in most courses in my department is usually a C -- one semester only 30% of students passed college algebra with a C or better, the rest failing or withdrawing.

        "Politics should be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and privileges of free people and who would preserve what is good and fruitful in our national heritage." -- Lucille Ball

        by Yamaneko2 on Sat Mar 30, 2013 at 10:50:05 PM PDT

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      •  Math is different (2+ / 0-)
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        annetteboardman, scott5js

        I was specifically talking about writing papers and essays. I actually have to do actual work in objective-answer classes (which I have, happily, been done with for a few semesters now :)).

        Homework in most lit classes is reading, which I do do diligently. I just don't waste extra time writing, because I know how easy As are on writing assignments for me.

        I have a 3.7, by the way, so I'm doing something right :D.

        And, honestly, being an older-than-college-age student, yes, we look for ANY shortcut. Because syllabuses are geared to our 20-year-old classmates who don't have families and either don't have jobs or have part-time jobs (most of them) and whose biggest decision is homework or beer. That's who the syllabus is designed for. I take every shortcut I can take, because I'm too old for this shit and I have a life :)

        "Maybe: it's a vicious little word that could slay me"--Sara Bareilles

        by ChurchofBruce on Sun Mar 31, 2013 at 11:47:33 AM PDT

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      •  My experiences with homework (1+ / 0-)
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        annetteboardman

        I got my B. A. and M. A. at The University of Texas. The mathematics courses (my major) often did not have homework per se, but theorems were given us to prove on a volunteer basis. These were pure math courses that had mostly math majors.
        The chemistry dependment (my minor) was pretty much the opposite. Students had to tow the line: there were homework and pop quizzes.
        I taught math at 2 junior colleges where my policies were like the UT Chemistry Department. With advanced math courses my style was looser.
        I got out of teching because I was not finding a suitable PhD advisor and because I was tired of having captive audiences.
        After some 30 years I still persue mathematics as a hobby: mainly algebraic numbers and group theory.

        Censorship is rogue government.

        by scott5js on Sun Mar 31, 2013 at 03:18:22 PM PDT

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