I have 40 essays for Spanish 3 right here that were supposed to be hand written, skipping lines, and turned in with a marked-up draft and the notes that went into making the draft. Several did not follow those instructions at all, and only one of the 40 followed the spirit of those instructions. Of the other 39, quite a few are writing in voices I am quite sure are not their own. In addition to that, there is phrasing in some of them that strongly suggests cut and paste, and other phrasing that smacks of certain translation engines.

One answer to this problem is to make all writing in class writing, but since we are now required to give so many tests, I do not have class time to use for writing assignments as well. I should, technically, investigate quite a few of these people for cheating but I only have time to grade them down for quality (since what they have done actually drives quality down). Do you have a problem like this and if so, how do you handle it? Because I think I am being too lenient.

I mean: if we are to follow state and national standards on course goals with students who are not ready for the course, we will have them cheating on these papers since many do not have the skill level they would need to produce passable ones without cheating. But it is for that reason I provide so much scaffolding, so I think I do my part in that regard. Ideas?

Next semester in Spanish 4 I will have exams online, with a time limit, outside of class. Essays will be written in class. They will be graded with a rubric and we will discuss the rubric very clearly. But how shall I prepare them for the essays? Shall I let them know the topic ahead of time? It is sort of necessary since I want them to do a series of pre-writing activities. I want to let them bring in notes, but no dictionaries and no devices. What do you think?





Filed under Questions

2 responses to “2015

  1. Hattie

    I would worry most that they are not following your explicit instructions.

    • Z

      Yes, if they did that then all the other problems would disappear. The one who does did not start the class in a strong position and does not have a particular facility for languages that I see. But she is now doing quite well, because the assignments are designed to build skills. Duh…

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