Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Early Thirsty: What's in Your Policy?
So. When 20% of students don't show up for peer review, 5 days before the final 6-8 page draft is due, some new, more draconian policies have now been edited into the assignment for subsequent semesters.
In an effort to keep my blood pressure down when May rolls around, it is now stated policy in the researched argument essay assignment sheet that "failure to attend peer review with a 4-page rough draft results in failure of the project." This might seem like a stiff penalty, but hear me out: I reserve the right to spend my time and energy on students who have done the work as assigned. I will spend 100% of my energy and effort on the 80% who follow directions and do the work. Having a draft for peer review is part of the assignment (as of right now, it's an automatic 10% off the grade if a student skips). I'm starting to think of it like my fellow science teachers do their classes: Peer review is the equivalent of a lab. Don't show up for lab, fail the assignment.
However, this policy is not going to save me this semester, so I am probably going to get a number of piss-poor excuses that I will open, scan, and likely assign an F (probably for plagiarism, since the students who are missing are also the students who are missing when I go over PIE paragraphs and citations and MLA format and the Style Manual and NoodleTools) (or because they still, after 14 weeks, do not get how to write an argumentative research paper despite a PowerPoint, a handout, a professional sample MLA format argumentative research paper, a student sample MLA argumentative research paper from the previous semester, and a personal, 1-on-1 conference with me to explain that no, you can't write a paper on how AI will have us end up like The Matrix, because it does not meet the criteria that the paper be grounded in solid evidence).
I assigned this paper a month ago. It is scaffolded: topic proposal due first (a week before Thanksgiving); then 15 source annotated bibliography; then 4 page rough draft for peer review. And some of them just won't follow the goddamned directions, but they'll still try to turn something in that will probably make my head explode.
Which leads me to my Early Thirsty:
Q: As we head into the final weeks of the semester/quarter/whatever, what policies have you had to add or change recently due to the epic fuckwittery you are constantly having to address? Has it helped?