The assignment I hate grading October 14, 2013Posted by mareserinitatis in education, teaching.
Tags: frustration, grading, homework
I have been giving an assignment in my class the past few years. However, after doing this three years in a row with refinements in each iteration, I’m contemplating whether or not it’s time to throw my hands up in the air and say, “Forget it!”
I have to admit a personal bias in this one: I hate grading this assignment. It’s time consuming and not something that really keeps my attention. Each year I’ve given it, I have gotten more explicit in my instructions. Each year, I have a large portion of students who either ignore the instructions and do it the way they want or completely get it wrong. There are always students who don’t read the instructions, but the latter group makes me anxious. I will present information like “A implies B” and “C implies D.” I ask the students about it, and they will insist that A implies D.
To be fair, about 2/3 of the students seem to get it. About 1/3 REALLY get it and do a great job. Their analysis is wonderful, and I think they really benefit from the assignment.
I’m left wondering if I’m not doing something right that 1/3 of the students aren’t getting it or that I must be awesome that 2/3 are. I suspect part of it is that it’s really hard to see so many students not get something so fundamental to their education. Despite what you may have taken away from my description of the assignment, it’s really a matter of trying to get students to analyze their own thoughts and then draw conclusions about how to approach school based on those thoughts. I worry that if they can’t figure those things out, how well can they really handle the more rigorous content?