In the writing assignment here, I assigned this paper to my 120 students. Here is the breakdown:

Of the 60 who turned in the assignment:
In 7 of them, at least 50% of the content in it was plagiarized from internet sources (I use to catch plagiarism, and the students know it, so I don’t understand how they think they will get away with it)


A or B: 15

C level work: 19

D level work: 20

F: 15

Zero for cheating (plagiarism): 7
53 of them did not even attempt the assignment and got a zero

7 turned the assignment in at least three days late, and had their grade reduced accordingly

To help the kids, I have a class website, where:

I post the rubric that I use to grade the papers. This rubric tells the kids exactly what criteria I use for grading. They all know EXACTLY what they need to do in order to get a decent grade.

I post a sample of an A level paper, so they know what one looks like.

I post the requirements for the paper, including the due date and the website where they are to submit the paper. Even so, I still get parents who email me and complain that their precious snowflake wasn’t aware of the (due date, late policy, plagiarism policy, method of citing another’s work, or other requirement) and can’t I make an exception?

It has gotten to the point where I have to have the students sign a paper saying that they are aware of the class requirements. Last week, I had a parent go all legal on me and try to say that a child’s signature on the paper is meaningless because children can’t enter contracts. Another said to me, “So what, no one actually reads that stuff before they sign it.”


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1 Comment

Anonymous · October 7, 2015 at 5:53 pm

The lower standards are certainly having their effect. One can't achieve great things without aiming high, yet the bar is constantly lowered. I had to start homeschooling my oldest daughter because she was attending a highly-rated school, making A's…and falling asleep in class. When I saw the work they were doing, I asked her what she did when they were going over something that she already understood…"I close my eyes". That started an adventure our family has thoroughly enjoyed and has yielded very good results so far…but what about her classmates who had fewer options?

Regarding the "no one actually reads that stuff before they sign it" thing – the world has gone stupid that way. I was doing a refinance the other day and a notary (a NOTARY PUBLIC!) told me that nobody reads all that stuff…I told her that I was certain the lender intended to hold me to all of the terms of the deal, so please give me a few moments while I skim this stuff and make sure I understand it.

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