The Waiting Room

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Monday, May 05, 2008

Did They Get Tired or Just Lazy?

Posted by Seeking Solace |

At the beginning and end of each semester, all student who take Composition are asked to complete a diagnostic essay. This is an ungraded essay that is used by the faculty to determine if the goals of the course are being met. In the exit essay, the students are given an article which the are "encouraged" to use as evidence in their essay. The hope is that the student can use evidence appropriately and provide proper documentation.

Yeah, right.

It seems that no matter how much time or energy I spent explaining the importance of such things, the essay the students submitted did not reach that goal. In fact, the papers read more like a uncensored rant, rather than a well thought, organized essay.

Part of me thinks there is a problem with the question the students are asked. The question could cause many to just go off on a rant, rather than think about a well reasoned response. And why bother to support a rant with evidence?

Or maybe it's the end of the semester and students are just tired and/or lazy.

Either way, I don't see how this can provide any valid indication of competence. From what I have read so far, it seems the only thing this exercise has accomplish is an outlet for student frustration.