Grading Papers

I just finished grading my remedial student’s second paper.

The grades on the first paper, including a required rewrite, ranged from 25 to 93. The lower grades reflect the fact that they did not rewrite the paper within the assignment limit. That is, they turned in a rewrite a week late, and were not given credit for the work. I did, however, not add two 0’s to their grades, which I did to the one student who did not even attempt the required rewrite.

Six of the students have not turned in their papers. They have one more class during which they can turn them in, but they start with a late grade of -10.

When I am grading, I give them two grades. One grade is for content and format. Did they follow directions on those? This includes whether the essay is sufficiently developed and if there are any parts that are unclear. It also includes whether they used MLA format for their papers. The second grade is for grammar and usage. This is the part where most of the students do abysmally. If grammar were their strong suit, they would not be in this class. This is very important to them, however, because they need to be able to write in a grammatically correct way. Also, in their next class, they will be required to pass a grammar entrance exam. If they don’t, they will not be allowed to pass the next class and will have to drop it and take it some other time. But there is no additional grammar teaching done in that class, or very little.

Of the students who turned in papers, the content/format grades ranged from a 76 to a 100, with most of the grades in the A’s. The grammar grades, however, ranged from 46 to 80 with most students getting D’s or F’s.

I generally allow a rewrite of all papers except the final essay. There I don’t allow it because I don’t have time. However, any error they did not correct loses twice as many points. Some teachers have them correct and allow up to half the points they lost to be added back. I add all four grades together to get their average per paper.

For this class, I required the first rewrite. This paper will allow, but not require, a rewrite. I expect that the same people who did it on time when it was required will do it now, but perhaps that is too optimistic an expectation.

The paper after this will again require a rewrite. I want them to go through the process of seeing their own errors and recognizing them and, hopefully, realizing why they made them. Then perhaps they would quit making those errors.

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