I came home tonight to a pile of final essays for a general ed course I teach. Three essays in, I began reading an essay 2/3 complete that began and ended like this:
"I would like to open this essay with a few statements. First, this is a [General Ed] class; this is not Research 101 or English Composition 101. I believe the work that I have submitted over the past few weeks has been graded inaccurately and unfairly. I can understand grading on grammer [sic] and punctuation, but I should not be confused on what class I am currently in. I do not believe it is a [General Ed] Instructors [sic] place to try and teach and correct introduction and conclusion paragraphs. If the correct format, grammer [sic], and punctuation are used, then the only thing that should be graded is the content.
"This essay will not be 4-6 pages long but I believe that I have covered the questions I was asked to cover. [lists paragraph by paragraph what s/he did] Despite the fact I have answered all of the questions I am supposed to, I will get docked points off this essay for errors that should not be graded in a [Gen Ed] class, and I am not talking about the length of the essay."
Oh Precious! Oh, you poor poor child. You complain here about my attempt to teach you basic writing skills and as you do so, you waste your highly important intro and conclusion paragraphs. And you skipped 1/3 of the essay question. And by being just short of the required 3-4 pages, you got a rather generous 78, which drew your overall grade to... 89.49!
YOU HAD AN A YOU SOD!!!! AND NOW YOU HAVE A B!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
In other cases, anyone over 89 would get a friendly bump from me. But Precious? Why should I? I could worry that a student challenge to the grade will result in my being interrogated and all that jazz, but lo! My Dean *just* sent us an email about the problems of artificially inflating grades during summer school. Precious here didn't show at any of my office hours or talk during class or send me a single email during the course. I take copious notes on my papers so I can justify any grade under challenge. Precious is totally, totally screwed.
And I'm totally, totally pleased about it.