First Papers

My college classes turned in their first essays which will receive full grading.

I was pleased by the first few. The formatting was correct. No one wrote on the wrong topic.

After grading all of them I am less pleased. Many people did not read the directions for the formatting. They just wrote what they remembered.

Everyone still wrote on the assigned topic. I was glad about that.

I learned a lot about my students since this first essay is a narrative on what they have learned in their lives. The first writing they did was on their experience with English before our class. The second was a paragraph on something they are good at. So I know them a lot better than I usually do by this time.

I am turning the papers back today, the next class period, because I want them to rewrite. I will also regrade them. In addition to rewriting these papers they will also be writing their next paper. I am hoping that seeing what they did wrong on this one will help them on the next one.

Grades went from a 100 on content to a 0 on grammar. There were more 0s on grammar than there were 100s on content. (I give two grades for each paper.)

If these were the only grade they got for the first essay, my students would have a hard time making passing grades. But I give them rewrites and grade those and then average the grades. Most people make As on the rewrites.

Why do I do that?

We don’t do grammar in class and making them correct their own grammar mistakes helps them. Also, they have to try to do better or I double the points off. So if they missed a comma in a paper and they don’t correct it in the rewrite, they lose four points off their total grade. I want them to make the corrections. I give them 0s if they don’t rewrite.

Some of them won’t rewrite. But they will get 0s. I’ve been soft before and just averaged their first grades, but I am not going to this time. I want those rewrites done because I think it helps them. I’m certainly not doing it because I like grading twice as many papers.

I am perturbed that my high school student didn’t turn in this paper on time either. She didn’t last time. I’m wondering if I should send information home if she’s not caught up this next time.

One student wasn’t in class and emailed me the paper towards the end of class. Unfortunately I can’t open it. I’ll have to go early and print it at school, if I can remember my passcode.

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