I have wild variations to that. On my "10-12 page" final paper, some have written 8 and some have written 18.And... that led me to add yet more 'stuff' to my syllabus saying that 10 is the min, 12 is the max, etc. [Actually, I'm not bothered by the 18 pagers, because they generally want to develop the topic and include plenty of references; the 8 pagers are the folks who do much less than expected, with few references and no analysis.]
My third semester in grad school, my prof assigned a 10- to 12-page paper. I turned in about 1.25 pages and received an "A" on it. I liked that prof. He was right to see that quality matters more than quantity. As a proffie now, I, too, would rather read one great page than 20 mediocre pages. So shoot me.
you forgot choice #3: it depends on how long the Wikipedia article is.
My students initially quail at the idea of an 8-12-page primary-and-secondary-source-based paper, and propose topics too broad for a doctoral dissertation. By this time of the semester, we've whittled the focus down to something manageable, and many of them have committed the usual newbie mistake of writing 4-6 pages on their secondary sources alone -- which, of course, means that they'll not only need to write another 4-8 pages presenting and analyzing their primary data, but also condense what they've already written by at least half. I warn them beforehand, and suggest writing the main body of the paper before the background section, but plenty of them do it anyway, and then say "Oh, I see what you mean." I guess it's a rite of passage which many of us have to go through at least once; I certainly did.
If my students do this, it's an automatic fail.
My students (freshmen, obvz) frequently rationalize their underdeveloped essays by saying that they got onto the second page -- that counts, right?@Bubba: In the wide world of freshman comp, there is no such thing as a quality essay. Gotta go with quantity.
"My students (freshmen, obvz) frequently rationalize their underdeveloped essays by saying that they got onto the second page -- that counts, right?"Wait...that doesn't count?! Technically, it's two pages. No one ever thinks to tell us it needs to be two FULL pages. I am so tired of profs expecting us to do things like put our names on our essays, for example, without telling us we need to do this.Students are not mind readers, you know.
God, Anastasia, I know! Listen, snowflakes, this is not "two" pages. It is a page and a sentence. The page count does not mean the physical pages you print out. If it did, just use 25 pt font and half-ass it boldly.Think math, little snowflake darling. If I give you an apple and half of an apple core, would you then proudly say that you have here two apples? Only if you're an idiot.That being said, I recognized long ago that I teach many an idiot. So I added the word "full" to my assignment sheet. They still don't follow directions, but maybe an extra 2 people per assignment go ahead and write two full pages.
Yup, I do tell them, "Two full pages. That means when you click "enter" the cursor moves to the third page."I do occasionally get essays that fall short in terms of page or word length but meet the other requirements. The student will still receive a good grade. But I also teach freshman comp, and at this level there's very little quality. It's by going through freshman comp that students learn how to produce quality. (Hopefully.)
I never give page limits because I don't want to deal with all those margin-widening, type-size-and-font enlarging tricks. My department requires word minimums, so that's what I go with. If the students go under, they get penalized based on by how much. We don't have proscribed maximums, but I give one anyway since part of their jobs will often be adhering to specs. I make it broad enough that they can develop the topic but not so much that I'll have to slog through an excessive amount of drivel.
I say "400-500 words". This means I get many papers with 401 words, and many more with 380 words.
Ultra-violent Strelnikov solution to the paper problem: If you assign a 10-page paper and they only give you 2 pages, beat them with an iron rod, one strike for every page they didn't do.(Beats cutting off fingers....)
@Strelnikov...substitute "tawse" for "iron rod," and you have my OLD job, before I became a college lecturer.
The assignment calls for 2-3 pages, and you've only written 1.25? Simple: increase the font size.
When you pick up a theme, make sure that it is actual and interesting for readers. First of all, start with your own research and read enough books and online sources. Click on essay mistakes to read the article.
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