Saturday, November 17, 2012

Grading Papers The Last Few Days

The good, the bad, the ugly...and a two paragraph paper from a student who must have just realized, "Oh, is that due?"

UPDATE: And then I get a paper that is so stellar that I find myself wondering, "Why is this kid not at UC Berkeley or Stanford?"

6 comments:

Bruce H. said...

How sure are you that the author of the paper is not at Stanford or Berkeley?

Clayton said...

Pretty sure. It isn't flawless, and from talking to this kid, he is very smart.

Anonymous said...

What's the topic the students were to right on?

Clayton said...

I was actually pretty open on this -- anything about Western Civilization from the Middle Ages through the Peace of Westphalia (1648). I gave them a list of suggested topics, but a few were creative. One wrote a grim but well-done paper about torture. The really stellar paper was about resource exhaustion and collapse of civilizations.

Anonymous said...

He may have read Jared Diamond's book about that very topic.

Bill in Texas

Clayton said...

He may have, but the list of sources was darn impressive. I demand at least eight sources -- and in spite of my efforts to explain the difference between serious, scholarly, published sources, and random (and sometimes insane) crap on the Internet, it took the first round of papers for most students to really get it. Even now, the vast majority of papers have exactly eight sources--not one more. But this student got it on the first paper: nothing but serious scholarly journal articles, and far more than required. Genuine scholarly curiosity, it seems, not just meeting minimum requirements.