Thursday, November 06, 2014

Minimal effort, minimal reward

Sometimes I feel the need to unleash a harangue and let it run around the classroom for a little while before locking it securely back in its cage. Today's harangue went something like this:

If you were taking a multiple-choice math test and realized that all you needed to do to pass was to get 60 out of 100 answers correct, would you answer 60 questions and then put down your pen? Probably not, but let's say you did that and got all 60 questions right. Congratulations! You've done the minimum you needed to do to pass! Enjoy your D-!

But if doing the minimum required to pass the math test earns a D-, why do you assume that doing the minimum required to complete a writing assignment should earn an A--or, at the very least, a B+? If the assignment requires at least three reputable sources and you use exactly three reputable sources but still don't have enough evidence to support your claims, you may be disappointed to find a D- at the top of your paper. But don't come crying to me about the injustice of it all. If you do minimal work, you'll get a minimal grade. Enjoy your D-!

Now let's corral that harangue and lock him back in the cage. We wouldn't want him to get loose and wreak havoc all over campus. Watch out--he bites!


penn said...

ooh, you're tough. I like it! I have a three minimum for sources, and students are shocked when I give them a C. I tell them a C is my basic expectation, but they should have 5-8 sources for a good project.

My harangue for this week is students who don't listen at all when I say something. I feel like I'm repeating myself an awful lot this year.

Bev said...

Not listening, not reading, not caring...does it ever get any better?