The Waiting Room

This could take a while...

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Somebody's Gonna Hurt Someone Before The Night Is Done!

Posted by Seeking Solace |

I am grading the projects for my civil litigation class.. They had to draft certain legal documents based on a fact pattern. What I learned is:

    • One can actually get a worse grade on a revision that what was received on the first draft.
    • Even if you give students actual documents to use as samples where all they have to do is incorporate their information, they will not use it. Instead, they will reinvent the wheel which looks nothing like the samples you provided.
    • Some of my students still don't know the difference between Federal District Court and the State District Court for the State of Elsewhere. And this is their third semester!

    I am at total loss. I'm mean, I want to walk into class tomorrow and just say, to quote one of my favorite bloggers. "What the hell is wrong with you? I mean, DAMN!"

    Part of me wants to be snarky, somehow punish them for otherwise shitty work. I can't do anything to their project grade, because the original score will stand if the revision is worse. They have just threw me into a new dimension off pissed off. I mean, they had a week to complete the corrections, they had two samples to use, and they could have asked me to clarify...but no one did.

    I know, it sounds mean. But, I've just about had it with the whinny, laziness of this term. If these students want to be taken seriously as paralegals, they need to step up their game.


    BrightStar (B*) said...

    In some situations when I have my students revise papers, I have them write an appendix explaining what changes they made, where in the revision I should expect to see the changes, and providing rationales to justify their changes. Then I can see if they intended to apply the feedback I gave them. Otherwise, sometimes I don't think the students listened to the feedback, but then I learned that they tried to incorporate the feedback (but still didn't do a good job of it). Although this doesn't necessarily improve the papers in all cases, it helps me feel like students tried to listen to the feedback, usually. I actually think it does help improve the papers, though, because students are put in a position to be held accountable for responding to feedback.

    I have no idea whether this approach would be helpful with your students, though, and I don't know whether you are interested in other ideas here or not...

    I agree that they need to make different professional decisions (and develop a stronger knowledge base) if they want to pursue careers as paralegals.

    Sounds very frustrating! Good luck.

    Seeking Solace said...

    Thanks B*. Unfortunately, for this kind of project, I can't do that. What they had to do was put data into a specific type of legal document. They were told where the information was to go, what to cite and the formatting requirements. If they had looked at the samples and put 1+1 together, they would have got it.

    I think sometimes my students make things harder than what the really are. In fact, I told them as a group and on each paper, that they are trying to reinvent the wheel when they don't need to.

    RageyOne said... sounds like your students had a template to use, but didn't bother to do so. How frustrating.

    Arbitrista said...

    Well, would it be too passive aggressive to make everyone spend some time in class doing some of this? It's kind of middle school-y, but they seem to be behaving that way anyway.

    By the way, I haven't been in a classroom in 4 years, so I might not know what the heck I'm talking about.

    Seeking Solace said...

    Arbitrista: They had in class time for most of the project. I think it's just the end of the term and they just don't care.