The Waiting Room

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Sunday, April 20, 2008

Is That Too Much To Ask?

Posted by Seeking Solace |

I told my Comp students that any cause-effect essay that does not contain proper documentation would receive an automatic "F". Sure enough, I received papers that had a Works Cited page, but no in text citations where needed or submitting a paper without any documentation whatsoever.

I also told them that I would not permit revisions if they did not follow that specific instruction. I am starting to rethink that position. If I take such a drastic position, what does that teach them? At the same time, is it fair to the students who did what they supposed to do? Maybe it's not about fairness, but just getting them to do it.

I am just so frustrated with the failure of so many students to provide documentation when needed. It's not like they don't know to do it. I spent a significant amount of time drilling citations form. So what's the problem?

Waiting until the last minute?
Not giving a rat's ass?

I don't like to micromanage, but dammit, I feel like it is becoming necessary.


k8 said...

They might not get completely get it yet - that is, they still might not quite understand in-text citation. If they went to the trouble of including a works cited page, it makes me think that they are trying to "do" citation, albeit unsuccessfully.

Now, these students might be lazy - definitely a possibility - but I would ask them to discuss how they understand the way they documented sources (or not) in the paper. Learning academic conventions like citation (which changes by discipline and by culture) is as much of a process as writing is - there's a whole body of research about this.

Yeah, they might be slackers, but you won't know without asking them about this.

Seeking Solace said...

Thanks k8. You have given me some great advice. I think I will do just that.

Academic said...

I think that it's absolutely essential to show students what you mean when you say "Cite sources." There are so many conventions out there, so perhaps an example paper with things cited as you want it will help show them the way. I would probably hold off on giving the grade until after a conference with the offending students if there is a small enough number to make that manageable.

M in my diary said...

What level of Comp is this and what are the course objectives?

Inside the Philosophy Factory said...

When I explicitly tell students, just before a quiz, that they can't conclude X from ~(x . y), nor can they conclude ~X -- I take points off. When they don't listen and they don't ask questions to clarify, they don't get credit. Some are stupid, others are stubbourn, and some are probably too high to care.

In terms of citations, I do think actually showing them an example in their own paper of missing citations does help.

I too get frustrated with the inclusion of a "works cited" page, without any in-text citations. I'm not sure where they learned that -- but it sucks, because if I want to run down one of their "facts", I have to look at all of their "works cited" entries....

Seeking Solace said...

Academic: That was the other thing I was planning. I think meeting one on one might get to the core of the problem.

M: Freshman Composition.

k8 said...

Freshmen - that explains a lot. They've each probably had vastly different preparation for academic writing. Some were probably drilled in citation and others were not. And then there are those who were taught citation forms that are incorrect. Nothing quite having a student argue with you about citation claiming that "my high school english teacher said that this is the way to do it and the handbook is wrong." Yes, I've had one of those. He was special.