Re: Grading, Plagiarism, Webbed Writing and ...

Gretchen Rich (grich@HU1.HURON.EDU)
Mon, 12 Aug 1996 14:12:13 -0500

Steve and Mark seem to find the right niche for me, too. I enjoyed Mark's
response--both as a fellow SD scholar and as an instructor--because it
reminded me of my children's abilities to complete the end run around my
rules. They seemed to forget from day to day that the rules stayed the
same about friends home when mom wasn't,etc. Their children have learned
it a bit earlier. I have to remind the granddaughters that the house
rules do not change just because Gramm is babysitting--and once reminded,
they follow the rules. Most kids--even those our age--will follow the
rules if we remind them--I think. Maybe? ok. Maybe not.


On Mon, 12 Aug 1996, Steve Finley wrote:

> Mark Gellis' was the best response yet to this situation, I thought
> (probably because it was almost exactly what I would've done, which
> naturally made it perfect). We Academic Rhetorician types have
> all this stuff to say about how the student in question was creative,
> ahead of his time, subverting the dominant set of rules in a way that
> demonstrated how far ahead he was of the rest of the class and how he
> was in touch with the potential of this technology, ad barfinitum. Fact is,
> as you said, most likely he knew he was pulling a fast one and had none
> of this more noble stuff on his mind at all, and rewarding him as some
> sort of cutting-edge prodigy shows you just how out of touch some of
> these teachers are with what students actually do. I don't think we
> should always assume the worst about students, but likewise we
> shouldn't assume that every time they fail to reach the minimum
> length on an assignment, it's because (e.g.) we oppressive fascist types
> should'nt be giving minimum lengths on papers anyway, and our
> student-genii are taking a minimalist approach in conscious protest
> of the Man, man. (I've heard it put in a much more vulgar way than
> that; the slightly gentler version is that with some teachers of the
> all-students-are-geniuses-in-everything-they-do variety, every time a
> student makes a certain bodily noise, it's Shakespeare.)
> Students are, IMHO, like your own kids: they're capable of genius from
> time to time, and much of what they do does have a sort of design behind
> it, but sometimes they're just mean little s***s who do stuff just to see
> if they can get away with it and for purely selfish interest. It's not
> fair to assume that your kids always do everything out of
> selfishness, and it's not smart to assume the opposite, either. Same
> for students, I think.
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------
> >From Mark Gellis:
> "Personally, I would give him 24 hours to do a rewrite, and make it
> absolutely clear that what he did was unacceptable, considered cheating
> by many, but that I was giving him the benefit of the doubt and the
> chance to prove he was capable of doing the work. And then I would
> dock the grade for lateness.
> Harsh? Perhaps. But odds are the kid thought he was pulling a fast
> one, not actually cheating, but using a loophole. As a teacher, the
> purpose of a test is just that, to test, to determine whether people
> understand concepts or have learned to employ certain skills (essays
> are, for this reason, nothing more than "take-home exams") under a
> certain set of circumstances. This kid did not complete the
> assignment in a way that proves his knowledge; therefore, one
> cannot assume the knowledge exists and one cannot give the student
> the same credit one gives to a student who has clearly demonstrated
> what they know."