My Photo
Blog powered by Typepad

Currently reading...

Personal favorites

Search my library

Library Thing

Victorian Studies


Fine Arts

Buy Books!



« Amazon reviews | Main | This Week's Acquisitions »

February 15, 2004


Timothy Burke

I do not consistently mark grammar or spelling throughout a paper, nor do I formally mark down for it (e.g., 5 mistakes = one letter grade down). But I do tell students that a paper which is sloppy enough in its language, form, spelling or anything else that it is poorly communicative will get a grade commensurate with its low quality. Swarthmore students being what they are, I don't see too many papers in that ballpark. Were I elsewhere, I'm sure that I would.


Marking mistakes takes time; actually correcting them (as opposed to merely circling them) takes way more time. And then there's always the question of whether students pay attention: unless you're going to sit down with them afterwards and say, "why did I circle this? What's the problem?" most -- the vast majority, I'd guess -- simply won't think about what the marks mean. I've had students revise essays for me multiple times, making the same mistakes over and over, until I finally discover that they didn't understand my notations (such as the standard sideways S marking indicating that two characters or words need to be inverted). And they never thought to ask me what I meant!

That said, I mark mistakes, and I grade down for them. And when I've taught non-English classes (Women's Studies), I've been criticized by students in other majors for making them adhere to "MLA" standards when Psych, say, has different rules.

The comments to this entry are closed.