Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Following Instructions

I have a student whose handwriting is so atrocious I had to give him zeros on the essay portions of his last exam simply because no one could read it. I told him to take it home and type up what it's supposed to say and turn it back in to me so I could give him credit where he'd earned it. I told him, "Just transcribe what you wrote on the original exam." It took him three weeks to get it back to me because, as he said, "I'm having trouble reading my own handwriting." Now that he's turned it back in, I can use it as a sort of Rosetta Stone to decipher the chicken scratch, and it is very clear that there are whole sections of his typed response that differ from his hand-written response. I TOLD him to just transcribe. Now I'm angry with him for trying to fool me. He only got back two of the 30 points he missed, though he also got a little note about following instructions.


JT said...

You are very generous. I would have given him nothing with no chance of getting a do-over.

The Man Your Husband Is Worried About said...

That's the whole TA vs. professor thing: we can't be too easy or too hard. Professors like you can say things like, "Sure, completely disregard that part of the syllabus," or "I've decided to give you an F for the entire semester because you were texting too much." Lowly TAs like me can't do anything like that.