I can honestly say that I don’t love grading papers, but I don’t think most people do. However, when I was reviewing the papers to see what students might think of their improvement over the class period, I don’t think they will see it. Many people did the best on the first essay (which I let them write over) and did not do as well on the in-class essay (which I would expect). But then they didn’t do as well over the next major paper either, because I did not allow rewrites.
That means that, if they are simply examining the trend, students are going to see:
highest grade, lower grade, even lower grade. I don’t think they are going to think that they learned much from that.
How can I talk to them about the fact that:
1. first paper was re-written for an average of the two grades, so is not indicative of first attempt?
2. second paper was in-class? This is a forced writing assignment with a single chance.
3. third paper was not re-written?
and make them see what they can/have learned from those situations?
I am not sure.
And I’m depressed about both that I don’t know and that the students will not see that their work may have improved over time. The assignments have gotten harder each time, as well. The essay I just handed back or am still grading (depending on which class you were in) is the hardest one we will do all semester. So I expect the papers they are working on now will have much higher grades. However, they won’t get these back until the final, which means they will not be able to use them in their discussion.
I guess the other option is to have them able to re-write the last paper and to choose to write the final over the revisions and what they learned from those.
That might work. But I haven’t finished grading them and they would barely have time to revise.
The final option (it’s a pun, I guess) is to have them read a big pack of paper and make guesses on possible topics from the packet and then answer the question from that for the final. I don’t really have time for that because of the schedule I have assigned. I didn’t know that most folks spend the last two weeks doing the readings and discussing possible final exam questions.
Could I tweak the final exam question? Could I give them a reading or a lecture or something on best ways to study (from StudyHacks or research) and have them apply what they have learned across their classes to the final?
How would I write that?
Reiterative practice (with or without feedback) is the most successful study tool in a student’s repertoire to help a student learn and master material, according to research. How have the classes you took this semester encouraged or discouraged the use of reiterative practice and in what ways might you, as the final arbiter of how you study, realistically improve your study habits?
This would give them multiple paragraphs. Simple version:
1. intro- reiterative practice definition and thesis
2. discouraged classes
3. encouraged classes
4. realistically improve next semester
More elaborate version:
2. class 1 – encouraged
3. class 2 – encouraged
4. class 3 – discouraged
5. class 4 – discouraged
6. class 5 – discouraged
6. realistic implementation 1
7. realistic implementation 2
8. realistic implementation 3
Variation of more elaborate version:
2. class 1 – encouraged
3. class 1 – discouraged
4. class 2 – encouraged
5. class 2 – discouraged
6. class 3 – encouraged
7. class 3 – discouraged
8. realistic implementation 1
9. realistic implementation 2
Students could bring in a print out of their grades for different classes, assuming they are all on Blackboard.
They could write on those print outs notes about the assignments.
Simply having the grades would let them see which courses gave the most feedback. (And there mine would probably surpass them all.)
What would I gain from this revision?
1. The students would see where they might have learned more in my class than they thought.
2. The students would be critically analyzing both their classes and their study habits for those. (Maybe. But otherwise it would be teacher evaluation. Need to work on that.)
3. Students could have a take-away of a means of improving their grades in other classes.
What would I lose from this revision?
1. I would not be following the final everyone else gave. Thus, I am out of line and fit is jeopardized.
2. I might be seen as encouraging criticism of their other teachers. See fit again.
Okay, so how could I revise this and still have my students look at this class positively?
Revised topic: Reiterative practice (with or without feedback) is the most successful study tool in a student’s repertoire to help a student learn and master material, according to research. How has this class encouraged or discouraged reiterative practice and in what ways might you, as the final arbiter of how you study, realistically improve your study habits for English 112 next semester and/or all of your classes?
1. intro – reiterative, thesis
2. this class encouraged
3. this class discouraged
4. do X next semester
2. this class encouraged: daily work
3. this class discouraged: daily work
4. this class encouraged: essay assignments
5. this class discouraged: essay assignments
6. do X next semester
7. Not do Y next semester
2. daily work- encouraged
3. daily work- discouraged
4. discussion grades- encouraged
5. discussion grades- discouraged
6. essay assignments- encouraged
7. essay assignments- discouraged
8. do X in English
9. do X in other
10. not do Y in English
11. not do Y in other
That still might lead them to teacher evaluation, but less than the other, I think.
So, daily work encouraged: lots of it, related to writing
daily work discouraged: lots of it, hard to see relationship sometimes
discussion grades: encouraged, related to the conceptual elements throughout
discussion grades: discouraged, ?
essay assignments: encouraged, prewriting, rewriting, peer review
essay assignments: discouraged, in-class essay, rewriting not feasible for all assignments
Maybe I could revise it this way, which I think is closer to what the Director of Comp was thinking:
Reiterative practice (with or without feedback) is the most successful study tool in a student’s repertoire to help a student learn and master material, according to research. How has this class encouraged or discouraged reiterative practice related to the Conceptual Age elements? Where do you think you most appropriately used the Conceptual Age elements and where might you have added them in, with the benefit of hindsight?
For major papers: We used the Conceptual Age elements in the visual rhetoric paper (design, play, narrative), the def/illustration paper (narrative, empathy, symphony), the digital presentation (design, play, narrative, symphony, innovation), the evaluation paper (design, symphony, narrative, meaning), and the proposing a solution paper (design, play, innovation, meaning, symphony, empathy, narrative).
For discussion: Six-word autobiography posts required design, play, narrative, and meaning. Comments could have elicited empathy. Lecture attendance/notes/essay required analysis of conceptual elements.
Okay, I feel a little bit better.
But it does mean I want the students to revise the essay that I haven’t turned back yet. When can I assign that? Not Nov. 29, since they have the present essay. I guess Dec. 5 as a due date. Final essay due then AND the revision. Not good for my grading stack, but I could turn the revision back on Dec. 7 and they could use it for the final.
Then I have the problem of… I have too many As in my classes. 31 out of 47 students are making As. They have done TONS of work.
Maybe I should have them critique their final grade to date. If they have an A, how have they earned that? Or whatever grade? Attendance, homework, daily grades, major essays, revisions when offered… All of those are ways they could argue they did or did not earn the grade they have.
Got to think about that. But first I need to grade the next essay for those students who need them back… Well, I guess since they aren’t going to be due till Dec. 5 I don’t have to, but really I don’t need them hanging over my head. If I can finish one class today and one tomorrow, that would be good.