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  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by FDG View Post
    I know that most recent teaching psychology (I've been told by a friend that is getting his PhD in the US, teaching undergraduates in the meanwhile) tend to consider comprehension and learning as disjoint from testing. Tests are a standard procedure to check if you can at least repeat and apply the tenants of the matter; since a personalized approach is considered as excessively time-expensive.
    I personally consider this attitude as fair, as long as it's openly stated at the start of the course.
    Yep, I would agree that a personalised approach is excessively time-expensive. Hence I don't advocate a wholesale dismantling of the "test-based learning" system. Moreover, I'm iffy on whether or not critical and creative thinking can be taught. It seems that a general curiosity would drive these processes naturally, and I personally don't believe that you can make a person curious about things or want to learn.

    I know that in academia there are 2 distinct groups of people - those who challenge the status quo and those who accept it and seek to expand it. I believe that this is born from the fact that people who do well enough to make it in are either smart or very hardworking or both. I'm personally straddling the middle and have a healthy amount of respect for both groups (though I tend to respect the hardworking status-quo group more). The smart/critical ones tend to see the disconnect and hypocrisy between learning and the aims of the education system, and the hardworking ones tend to believe in the system. But for academia to function, we need both groups of people.

    I guess that's the thing - an education system, in itself, is a paradox. On an idealistic level, education should be personal, driven by curiosity and the want to know more on a global scale and be fueled by discussion - that's what Plato's academy was founded on. On the other hand, it's a system. How can you systematise something that is so individualistic?

  2. #32
    Blah Orangey's Avatar
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    Okay, here's a real life example of what I think SW is trying to point out.

    This semester I am TA-ing for a large media history course, which essentially means that I have to do the dirty work for the professor (grading, running discussion sections, dealing first-hand with the students). Their first writing assignment was to write a five-page hisorical interpretation of some aspect of radio before 1945 (e.g., radio and housewives), and part of the requirements was to cite "amply" from at least twelve primary sources, and to cite at least once from both secondary sources (which had to be scholarly journal articles).

    Well, they completed these essays and turned them in to me. But part of my job requirement is not simply to grade them, but also to have the grades looked over and approved by the professor (of course, he doesn't have to read all 80 essays...he just has to look over some samples of each grade category that I bring to him to make sure I'm "properly" evaluating them). Don't get me wrong, I'm not criticizing this practice in and of itself, and I can certainly see the utility of it. You don't want some wacky TAs running around assigning arbitrary grades, or grading by "favorites."

    But in my case, I brought him a sample of some essays that I thought were really brilliant compared to the rest of the ones I had recieved from my students. There were like three of them, and they stood out monumentally both in terms of writing quality and depth of insight. Anyway (and this is getting to the relevant bit), the professor took a brief glance at each one, remarked how they were well-written, but then went straight to the sources and checked to see if each one had cited once from each of their secondary sources as required.

    Of course, one of the essays had cited twice from one secondary and neglected to cite at all from the other (though the girl who wrote it integrated the citations logically and with elegance, which is a lot more than I can say for most of the other essays that DID cite from both). Because of this, he told me that I needed to bump it down from a high A (97+) to a B ("at best B+, if that"). I couldn't believe him. Here we had an essay that accomplished the purpose of the task with flying colors, and he was going to have me give it a lower grade just beause it did not necessarily follow, to a "T," the instructions of the assingment (which, IMHO, were really tedious. And that's not just my opinion...he is known for it, both among his undergrads and the graduate students).

    I argued with him, saying that it would send a poor message to this student (i.e., that we don't care about how much effort you put into making this a quality end-product, we just care if we can check requirements off of a list). He countered by saying that it would not be fair to the students who did follow the rules but who did not necessarily write as brilliantly. I tried countering one last time by saying that the students who did not write as brilliantly would be graded on the basis of the quality of their essay, like everyone else, and that only if the student was missing significant portions of the requirements would I penalize them. He insisted that the students who did not write as brilliantly but who hit the requirements should get a higher grade than the brilliant student who missed one requirement. And then he ended the argument. I was so mad.

    So yeah, all they care about is rule-following. They can't see past it.
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  3. #33
    Tenured roisterer SolitaryWalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tallulah View Post
    I agree with your idea theoretically, SW. Thoughts and ideas, if they are well supported, should be the most important factor in assessing a person's body of work.

    Though MLA and other formats are and can be, for me personally and other academics and would-be academics, a giant hassle, and seemingly unimportant when compared to the hopefully new ideas contained in the paper one is writing. I guess this is where I can also look at the practical side of things, though. A typical academic journal might receive hundreds of submissions for one shot at publication. If I were the person reading these submissions, I would want them to be consistently formatted--not only for clarity's sake, but for ease in finding cited sources within the text and the full sources on a Works Consulted page. I wouldn't want to have to decipher which, if any, method of organization a particular person chose to use on a whim, or where they might have chosen to display sources. Also, I would not want to be the person on the other end that takes the contributor's work and tries to organize and make some sense of it for publication. It just seems to me that it's not unreasonable to have a standard, and to make each contributor responsible for putting their work into that standard format.

    I do agree that in the workplace, there may be different ways of accomplishing the same thing effectively. And that maybe not each and every student will have a need for knowledge of MLA, APA, etc. But I think overall, there are far fewer exceptionally bright students that don't need training wheels, and far more students that have no concept of how to organize their thoughts in the first place. And those are probably the students that, even though it's a giant pain, need the structure of the rules and formatting the most.

    My personal experience as a college comp teacher has reinforced this truth: that some students are naturals at forming original thoughts and ideas, finding adequate support, and organizing everything into an easily-understood, well-delineated argument, with little effort. Those are the students that are given a bit of slack--they know the rules well enough to break them for effect. But most students need to know what the rules are; they need the training wheels, else their writing is dang-near unreadable. Ideas are too simple, unsupported, unorganized. They often don't see the importance of even giving credit for another's thoughts and ideas. As much as I hate it, they almost beg for consequences. If they are given any slack whatsoever, they stop trying.
    I would agree that most students, especially the undergraduates are altogether clueless with regard to how they should organize their thoughts; come up with ideas or for that matter, perform any academic task. The question with respect to why the case is such is an incredibly complex one and requires a whole another discussion, yet I conjecture that scholarly activity is deeply unnatural for most people. After all, only recently we have evolved from monkeys whose primary activities were concerned with non-cerebral, visceral tasks. It is not surprising that most students do not have an instinct that guides them to engage in quality abstract thought.

    These people do indeed need to be supervised very carefully. Despite the fact that I accept all of your arguments, I do not see them as a source of sympathy for the contemporary educational system. University should be a place of learning only, not an institutional that philistines can attend so they can make more money or impress their friends and family. Whoever has no notion with regard to what critical and creative thought deserves to flunk out of college.

    If we were to establish such an institution, how exactly would it survive in the ruthless, capitalistic business world? The students who have no notion with regard to what critical thought is are the ones that offer the money that renders the existence of the present-day universities possible, if they are to be expelled, we would surely go out of business. The only way we could resolve this problem is by stepping away from the current-free market system further (which is a big part of the problematic system that I discussed in my OP). There the government will offer grants to educators who will establish institutions of higher learning where only the genuine skill of critical thought will be taught. Those who have no notion of what it means to think can go to a different institution that is reserved for training with regard to practical crafts such as business for example.

    In short, the real thinker will go to an institution that I propose should be created by virtue of the government funds and the rest of the students can attend the current universities where they can mindlessly follow the vapid instructions. This way we are not going to confuse genuine learning for mere regurgitation and will also create institutions where learning can indeed take place without significant hindrances.

    Quote Originally Posted by sunshinebrighter View Post
    I disagree with this conspiracy theory. I believe that politicians and businessmen designed our educational system because it was the most practical and easiest structure to implement.

    It's easier to prove to the voting parents that their child is learning in school by showing them scores of standardized tests. How do you prove to the parents that their child improved their independent thinking and the school is bringing out the child's unique abilities?

    How do you create a curriculum that encourage independent thinking?

    What will the grading system be like? Wouldn't the grading be too subjective because there is no standard right and wrong?

    Will there be a high chance that the teacher will force his/her type of thinking on to the students?

    Overall I think it's nonsense to train children in schools to be a bunch of sheep. Most humans are naturally already sheeps!
    For the most part, I agree with this. Most politicians and businessmen were concerned with being re-elected first and foremost. I doubt that they had the time or aptitude to ponder deep philosophical matters such as human dignity and what quality education truly is.

    However, later on, they had an unconscious urge to suppress critical thought as they noticed that people who think for themselves and have dignity cause them problems. Would they go out of their way to keep an educational system in status quo? That is questionable. Would they make an effort to keep it that way? Certainly, in part because it seems practical to do so (as this gets them re-elected) and secondly because on an unconscious level, they genuinely appreciate the fact that the educational system produces chattel that they can exploit with a relative ease.



    Quote Originally Posted by Take Five View Post
    I don't agree with all this. I don't think the instructions are absurd, nor do I think they are prioritized over course objectives that are outlined on the syllabi or education in general.

    Staying on topic is good. It makes it fair to the teacher. They have creative writing classes for creative types. You can also write whatever you please outside of class. But enrolling in a course is like signing a contract, and it should be no surprise you are expected to hold your end of the deal.
    You make two claims.

    1. I don't think instructions are absurd.
    2. If you sign up for a class, you have the responsibility to follow instructions.

    The two claims are unconnected. Do you mean to suggest that even if the instructions are absurd, because you signed up for the class, you have to follow them irrespectively of how ridiculous they may be.

    That is another question that requires a whole new discussion. However, I don't think that this at all helps us to solve the problem of contemporary education.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mystic Tater View Post
    To simply agree with the OP may indicate that I lack critical thinking skills. No?

    Firstly, why do we observe "critical thinking" students exiting conventional educational programs if they are supposedly stripped of the ability to "critically think"? It would follow that either a) these students use their abilities to undo conventional modes of education, or b) your premise is completely untrue.

    From my perspective, there are those who aspire toward critical thinking, and others who couldn't care less. This phenomena could very well be independent of the educational process.

    One could say that the educational systems are simply tailored for the majority of students, who lacked "critical thinking" abilities in the first place. Thus, the effect has now become the cause.

    There is no need to say that conventional education causes anything but convention education, which varies from state to state, location to vocation. Therefore, your argument that all of academia is one way or another just doesn't hold true.
    It may be true that most people lack the ability and the incentive to think critically, yet the current system encourages them to continue avoiding critical thought. The current system may not be the cause of the problem, or it may not be the source of the thoughtlessness of the people as they are probably thoughtless by nature, but its certainly reinforcing these undesirable tendencies of theirs. For this reason I think that it is an evil that should be eradicated.

    Quote Originally Posted by FDG View Post
    Mmm. To be honest, I haven't truly found this to be the case, with the exception of first-year undergraduate. A good number of professors, especially the older ones with more experience and wisdom, seem to love it when you give a perspective that is both correct and not-extremely-bookish. Younger ones less so, but you know why? Because the homeworks & exams aren't even graded by them, they're graded by their assistants.

    However, salaries tend to be slightly flatter in Italy; only industrial families and politicians have a substantially higher salary (a CEO will probably get around 200'000 euros a year, not "millions" - and bonuses are mostly absent, so the salary is not strongly influenced by the success of the firm/bank - this is also why our banks didn't have a lot of problems during the 2008-2009 liquidity crisis); this probably lowers the incentives towards the attitude described by the OP.
    The system of Western Europe does not practice the 'free-market' regime as much as the American one does. In Italy, I would conjecture, it is much more difficult for a CEO to rob enough people to make millions of dollars each yet than it is in the United States.



    Quote Originally Posted by nonsequitur View Post
    Though to be quite honest, I think it's much easier to teach someone to be conventional than it is to teach someone to be "creative". I can see the merit in trying to teach someone to think critically/creatively, but I don't know how that would be implemented in a practical sense especially with the years of indoctrination of teachers to think/teach in a specific, narrow manner. Moreover, there would be no "fair" means of grading and grade separation, because there is no objective criterion on which to grade "creativity" and "critical thinking". Also, critical thinking requires that we identify and attack underlying assumptions of theories..
    I agree that implementing a curriculum that teaches students to be creative and critical is more difficult than implementing the current curriculum, however, it can be done.

    Here are some preliminary thoughts.

    Step 1. Assign a reading.
    Step 2. Make sure that the student does the reading by forcing him or her to summarize it.
    Step 3. Fail all students who do nothing but summarize or quote the text.
    Step 4. Offer a passing grade only to students who have mentioned something that did not come directly for the text. (They could have done something as simple as merely asking if the author they read was correct and offering some reasons why he may or may not be correct. By doing this, on some level, the student displays creative and critical thinking.)

    With all of that in consideration, implementing an academic agenda that evaluates the students' ability to think creatively and critically does not seem impossible.


    Quote Originally Posted by nonsequitur View Post
    If we did succeed in teaching students to do that in a general sense, the education system would descend into anarchy with students' complete deconstruction of established dogma (the curriculum). In which case, you have to wonder at what ends such an "education" would serve.
    I do not think that you can make this inference without committing the slippery slope fallacy. Surely critical thinking is by its nature anti-establishment and a step towards developing critical thinking may bring students closer to a point where they would be inclined to reject everything they learned. However, making that one step towards that destination does not mean that we are going to go all the way there.

    We can accept some principles as unquestionable (for example, that students have to make comments that are relevant to the agenda of the course), yet we can allow them to do well in the class without following the instructions point by point. In short, if we give critical thought free reign, we may destabilize education altogether. This certainly would be undesirable, however, I see no harm at all in simply giving our students a longer leash.



    Quote Originally Posted by nonsequitur View Post

    I guess that's the thing - an education system, in itself, is a paradox. On an idealistic level, education should be personal, driven by curiosity and the want to know more on a global scale and be fueled by discussion - that's what Plato's academy was founded on. On the other hand, it's a system. How can you systematise something that is so individualistic?
    You need to strike a balance between granting the students an opportunity to be individualistic and assessing their progress in a systemic manner. When you have two methods that contradict one another, it does not mean that you must embrace one in entirety and reject the other altogether. You can incorporate elements of both into your system. In this case, the latter element is preponderant over the former. I suggest that the former should carry slightly greater weight, yet the latter should not be regarded as unimportant because if it is to be regarded as insignificant, the destabilization of academic curriculum that you have alluded to will happen.

    Quote Originally Posted by Orangey View Post
    Well, they completed these essays and turned them in to me. But part of my job requirement is not simply to grade them, but also to have the grades looked over and approved by the professor (of course, he doesn't have to read all 80 essays...he just has to look over some samples of each grade category that I bring to him to make sure I'm "properly" evaluating them). Don't get me wrong, I'm not criticizing this practice in and of itself, and I can certainly see the utility of it. You don't want some wacky TAs running around assigning arbitrary grades, or grading by "favorites."

    .
    I don't understand why we must either follow arbitrary rules to a 'T' or have wacky TAs running around grading papers as they please. I see that on one end of the spectrum we have people who thoughtless grade based on the rules and on the other end people who have no structure behind their grading system and are guided by mere whims.

    We don't need to be in one of those two camps. Why not grade the papers based strictly on insight and clarity of exposition. This does not at all seem whimsical or structureless. What insight and clarity of exposition mean can be clearly defined and in accordance to such definitions, a standard of evaluation can be established which shall be used to grade all submitted assignments.
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  4. #34
    movin melodies kiddykat's Avatar
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    Orangey, I can't believe the professor did that.
    In addition to this, the temple of human dignity is indubitably rests on thought or the ability to think independently and critically. Our intellect is defined by our ability to think independently and critically, that is the main distinction between humans and animals. Accordingly, almost by our very nature we obtain self-respect by being able to think for ourselves. When we do that we feel that there is something in life that we have accomplished in our own endeavor and did not merely follow our animalistic urges and the dictates of our authorities.
    SolitaryWalker, I agree with what you wrote for the most part. Having high grades doesn't necessarily mean that a person's smarter.. They may be book smart, and good at following through the tedious details/routine, but it doesn't say much about their willingness to really 'learn' or to think critically/analyze. Human dignity for some, means following the 'rules.' Being able to think for oneself can be seen as too much of a headache, or makes a person 'cookoo.' It's really a sheepish mentality in order to maintain status quo, instead of challenging it.

    Some people define human dignity by obliging to authority, not questioning, not reasoning, and remaining in ignorance. They are quite happy with this type of thinking, and sadly, it's the passive and apathetic mentality that reinforces the way things work in the educational system, along with the other major institutions of society..

    To put it crudely, In order to be efficient spenders/hard workers, one needs to think/behave like a robot. I think the top 1% of the wealthiest greatly appreciates this kind of mentality, and actively promotes it. True power is knowledge, and that's not what they want.. not most of them, which is outright disrespect to the vast majority of humanity, I think.

  5. #35
    Blah Orangey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SolitaryWalker View Post
    I don't understand why we must either follow arbitrary rules to a 'T' or have wacky TAs running around grading papers as they please. I see that on one end of the spectrum we have people who thoughtless grade based on the rules and on the other end people who have no structure behind their grading system and are guided by mere whims.

    We don't need to be in one of those two camps. Why not grade the papers based strictly on insight and clarity of exposition. This does not at all seem whimsical or structureless. What insight and clarity of exposition mean can be clearly defined and in accordance to such definitions, a standard of evaluation can be established which shall be used to grade all submitted assignments.
    No, of course you don't need to be in one of those two camps. That is kind of what I was suggesting to the professor when I told him that I would simply grade based on quality, and then penalize those who were missing significant portions of the required material (which, if they were, their essays would have no doubt suffered in quality anyway, making my system of grading superior). Having the professor check up on the grading practices of the TA is just a preventative measure to make sure that they don't fall into the "grade by whim" camp. The problem in my particular situation was that the professor took an extra step and made me conform to his thoughtless method of grading by rules. The practice of having a professor overlook the grading is not, by itself, a coercive practice (though it obviously can lead to it in some cases).
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  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by SolitaryWalker View Post
    I agree that implementing a curriculum that teaches students to be creative and critical is more difficult than implementing the current curriculum, however, it can be done.

    Here are some preliminary thoughts.

    Step 1. Assign a reading.
    Step 2. Make sure that the student does the reading by forcing him or her to summarize it.
    Step 3. Fail all students who do nothing but summarize or quote the text.
    Step 4. Offer a passing grade only to students who have mentioned something that did not come directly for the text. (They could have done something as simple as merely asking if the author they read was correct and offering some reasons why he may or may not be correct. By doing this, on some level, the student displays creative and critical thinking.)

    With all of that in consideration, implementing an academic agenda that evaluates the students' ability to think creatively and critically does not seem impossible.
    I'd like to ask how much teaching experience you've had. If you've asked the class to give a summary of something and fail them for doing exactly what you've told them to, I'd imagine that there'd be a huge ruckus. Moreover, people would just google something semi-related and shove it in regardless of how tenuous the relationship is to the source material. How would there be grade differentiation based on that? It may very well be that it can distinguish the top students from the run-of-the-mill students, but it would be virtually impossible to distinguish between a B student, a C student and a D student. Moreover, this method of judging critical thinking is incredibly subjective. Going by a rigid marking scheme, I already have students coming up to me to quibble about an extra mark or two. What do you think will happen if this highly subjective scheme was implemented?

    Quote Originally Posted by SolitaryWalker View Post
    I do not think that you can make this inference without committing the slippery slope fallacy. Surely critical thinking is by its nature anti-establishment and a step towards developing critical thinking may bring students closer to a point where they would be inclined to reject everything they learned. However, making that one step towards that destination does not mean that we are going to go all the way there.

    We can accept some principles as unquestionable (for example, that students have to make comments that are relevant to the agenda of the course), yet we can allow them to do well in the class without following the instructions point by point. In short, if we give critical thought free reign, we may destabilize education altogether. This certainly would be undesirable, however, I see no harm at all in simply giving our students a longer leash.
    Again, it's not about logical fallacies. It's about what works in practice. How do you decide which principles are unquestionable and which are not? If you are to teach people to think critically, how can you tell them what to think critically about and what to accept unquestioningly? That is the underlying hypocrisy in the education system, and is precisely what the current system is attempting to do. It's simply that your personal standards of "thinking critically" do not fit the education board's.

    Quote Originally Posted by SolitaryWalker View Post
    You need to strike a balance between granting the students an opportunity to be individualistic and assessing their progress in a systemic manner. When you have two methods that contradict one another, it does not mean that you must embrace one in entirety and reject the other altogether. You can incorporate elements of both into your system. In this case, the latter element is preponderant over the former. I suggest that the former should carry slightly greater weight, yet the latter should not be regarded as unimportant because if it is to be regarded as insignificant, the destabilization of academic curriculum that you have alluded to will happen.
    Yes, that is what most teachers try to do, to certain extents. But again, it's nice in theory, difficult in practice. It is usually much easier to lean on the conservative, more objective side and mark according to the standard. That does not leave you open to accusations of bias. As teachers, we seek to transmit knowledge, perspectives and help students to think for themselves. Unfortunately, we also have the role of ranking them so that they have a grade that they deserve... and students have the attitude of "I paid for this degree, therefore I should leave school with an A". As such, many of them haggle over every single mark, even if they are undeserving of it. By making the standards more subjective, you are leaving yourself open to this. At the same time, school standards will no longer be as well defined. It will be dependent highly on the personal standards and requirements of individual teachers. So students will not know what they'll be getting out of classes. How do you propose we solve these problems?

    (Note that my tone here is questioning, not accusative... I just re-read this post and realised that it sounded pretty angry, but I'm really not. I'm frustrated because I can see what you're saying, but see no practical solution.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Orangey View Post
    No, of course you don't need to be in one of those two camps. That is kind of what I was suggesting to the professor when I told him that I would simply grade based on quality, and then penalize those who were missing significant portions of the required material (which, if they were, their essays would have no doubt suffered in quality anyway, making my system of grading superior). Having the professor check up on the grading practices of the TA is just a preventative measure to make sure that they don't fall into the "grade by whim" camp. The problem in my particular situation was that the professor took an extra step and made me conform to his thoughtless method of grading by rules. The practice of having a professor overlook the grading is not, by itself, a coercive practice (though it obviously can lead to it in some cases).
    I can understand the prof's pov, but in this case I'd have exercised discretion and compromised with an A- (and written down the reason why on the essay, with general feedback/praise so that said student wouldn't make the same mistake again). I'm glad that my graded reports don't get looked over and that I have full discretion with grading (unless students complain directly to the prof). That said, I agree that proper citations are important, not because they "follow the rules", but because incorrect citations can be considered plagiarism.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nonsequitur View Post
    I can understand the prof's pov, but in this case I'd have exercised discretion and compromised with an A- (and written down the reason why on the essay, with general feedback/praise so that said student wouldn't make the same mistake again). I'm glad that my graded reports don't get looked over and that I have full discretion with grading (unless students complain directly to the prof). That said, I agree that proper citations are important, not because they "follow the rules", but because incorrect citations can be considered plagiarism.
    No, this wasn't a matter of her having an incorrect citation or failing to cite a source while mentioning it in the essay. What I'm calling "citation" (because this is the term used on the stupid assignment sheet) is to actually directly reference, either by paraphrasing or direct quotation, the source in question. So they were required to have two secondary sources (which she had), and also to directly cite from both in-text (she only directly mentioned one of them, but she did so twice).

    I imagine that the purpose of the requirement was to get them used to using other scholarship to situate their own work, but from what this particular student demonstrated with the in-text citations that she DID have, this was not a problem for her. In most scholarship, the author may have several secondary sources that don't ever get explicitly mentioned in the text (or get put in a footnote or endnote).

    If this were a matter of plagiarism I would have thought that it was a much bigger deal.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Orangey View Post
    No, this wasn't a matter of her having an incorrect citation or failing to cite a source while mentioning it in the essay. What I'm calling "citation" (because this is the term used on the stupid assignment sheet) is to actually directly reference, either by paraphrasing or direct quotation, the source. So they were required to have two secondary sources (which she had), and also to directly cite from both in-text (she only directly mentioned one of them, but she did so twice).

    If this were a matter of plagiarism I would have thought that it was a much bigger deal.
    So it was a formatting issue? I would've written off what the prof said, then, and just given her a higher grade (I've done that before when I thought he was being unreasonable). Chances are that they wouldn't remember having said that anyway, or that they'd say something completely different on another day if they were in a different mood. They're probably busy writing grants and generally don't care what grade you give as long as the curve seems reasonable. Yes, I'm really cynical. But to be serious, since you've seen all 80 papers and graded them, it would only be consistent/fair if he allowed you to mark them as you saw fit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nonsequitur View Post
    So it was a formatting issue? I would've written off what the prof said, then, and just given her a higher grade (I've done that before when I thought he was being unreasonable). Chances are that they wouldn't remember having said that anyway, or that they'd say something completely different on another day if they were in a different mood. They're probably busy writing grants and generally don't care what grade you give as long as the curve seems reasonable. Yes, I'm really cynical. But to be serious, since you've seen all 80 papers and graded them, it would only be consistent/fair if he allowed you to mark them as you saw fit.
    Well that's what I thought as well (that he would just forget), but then he requested two follow-up meetings with me to discuss the issue further. It was an important point to him for some reason, and he was getting irritated with me for how lightly I viewed the issue. I ended up giving her an A-, which still makes me angry. He is a bit of a pedant.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Orangey View Post
    Well that's what I thought as well (that he would just forget), but then he requested two follow-up meetings with me to discuss the issue further. It was an important point to him for some reason, and he was getting irritated with me for how lightly I viewed the issue. I ended up giving her an A-, which still makes me angry. He is a bit of a pedant.
    Ah well, you tried. That's all we can do, really... That and hope that we wouldn't do the same thing if we ended up in tenured positions (very unlikely for me) in the future. The guy who runs the class that I teach is pretty annoyingly pedantic too. I've stopped arguing with him and just run the class as I think it should be conducted. What he doesn't know won't kill him, and the most important thing is that the kids are treated fairly and get as much as possible out of class.

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