wavyarms: (Eowyn)
[personal profile] wavyarms
OK, folks, I am dealing with my first grade-grubber. (I naively thought I wouldn't deal with any. Live and learn.) And it is anxiety-producing! Ick.

So, academics and teachers of various stripes! Share with me stories of your worst grade-grubber? It'll make me feel better!

Date: 2012-12-20 06:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kouredios.livejournal.com
Here you go:

The worst semester of grade grubbers I ever had was the semester I TA'd for a Children's Lit class. It was full of people who thought the class would be easy because it was stories for kids! No one warned them about the amount of structuralist literary criticism that the professor lays on that class.

The worst grade grubber of that class was a kid who came to, like, not even half the class meetings. Who failed the exams and got Ds on the papers, and when I failed him for the semester proceeded to email me over and over again to argue that, as a second-semester senior who had an internship lined up, he was owed a passing grade. The amount of effort he put into trying to convince me to pass him WAY exceeded the amount of effort he put into the class as a whole. And yes, I pointed that out to him. As well as the fact that, as a second semester who needed to pass a 200-level lit class to finish his diploma, he probably should have worked a little harder to, you know, actually pass the class. All I was doing was grade what he actually did.

This is my best straight-up grade-grubbing story. The best plagiarism story is completely different.

Date: 2012-12-20 07:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wavyarms.livejournal.com
Ugh. The details are different, but the overall plot is familiar! Thanks for keeping me company over here in beleaguered academic-land.

Now you know you HAVE to share the best plagiarism story too!

Date: 2012-12-20 07:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kouredios.livejournal.com
That one's even better, and I feel like I may have told it to you in person? But I always lose track of who's heard this story, I've told it so many times. :D

First semester frosh, this time. She plagiarized her first assignment of the semester, by C&Ping straight from Sparknotes, which is stupid. Then her final paper, which is supposed y be a 5-7 page comparison of two texts, consisting of text analysis (not research), copies her entire paper word-for-word, except for the intro and conclusion, from 5 different websites. Now, even if the whole thing hadn't been plagiarized, it would have failed because a) it was incoherent and b) it was not text analysis. But also, it was plagiarized. So I informed her that I had discovered it was plagiarized, and that she would be failing the class. She decided to appeal. So several months later I have to appear before an ombudsman's panel, explaining the situation, complete with printouts of her paper and the 5 websites, with color-coded highlights of the respective sections of the paper.

Her arguments were: 1. I'm intimidating. Which, really? 2. Her computer broke and 3. She therefore didn't get around to paraphrasing everything into her own words, because she ran out of time.

Um? Still plagiarism. Which I said. I think at one point I actually said, "I have no idea why we're even here," and one of the undergrads on the panel nodded. They ended up upholding the F. :)

Date: 2012-12-20 09:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wavyarms.livejournal.com
Man. I hope you were able to keep a sense of humor at the time, as well as subsequently! (That's my current challenge.)

Date: 2012-12-20 11:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kouredios.livejournal.com
That's pretty much my most effective defense mechanism, yeah. :D

Date: 2012-12-20 09:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sigerson.livejournal.com
"I think if you re-read this with an open mind, you'll see that it deserves an A."

Date: 2012-12-20 09:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wavyarms.livejournal.com
Hahaha. Man, it really helps hearing that my little idiot is not the only little idiot.

Date: 2012-12-21 06:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] magdalene1.livejournal.com
Here is the solution I use with grade grubbers:

They can re-submit a binder with a hard copy of all of their written assignments in order + a DVD reel of their video work to me by 1 week after classes end. No exceptions, no delays. 5:00 pm on that day or NEVER. Nothing can be piecemeal - "Can I email you this one thing?". All or nothing.

If they've DONE the work, this will take about 2 hours - to print out stuff and burn a DVD. I will read everything over with fresh eyes and see if I can kick them a few extra points based on "improvement" or somesuch.

If they must recreate or create the work, it will take anywhere from days to IMPOSSIBLE.

I have never had anyone actually submit this to me. Because: IMPOSSIBLE.
Edited Date: 2012-12-21 06:01 am (UTC)

Date: 2012-12-22 10:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wavyarms.livejournal.com
Hm. Not sure this policy would work for me, b/c they submit everything via Moodle. And the problem is not whether or not they did it, it's QUALITY. I am definitely going to have to think upon some impossible policy, however.

Date: 2012-12-21 01:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ggod715a.livejournal.com
Why do grade-grubbers produce anxiety? They get the grade, not you! It doesn't really impact your life if they fail or get a D!

Date: 2012-12-22 10:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wavyarms.livejournal.com
I dunno, it's hard to explain. Whenever I come into conflict w/ someone, I get really anxious. Whether or not I am in the right, whether or not I am in a defensible position, doesn't really mean I don't get anxious.

Date: 2012-12-22 10:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wavyarms.livejournal.com
P.S. Oh, and a lot of anxiety comes from the possibility of his escalating the issue. If I knew that wouldn't happen, then yes, it would impact my life less and I would be less anxious.

Date: 2012-12-22 03:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pantshead.livejournal.com
[livejournal.com profile] ggod715a, I think it can be anxiety producing because grade-grubbing is usually accompanied by one or more of:

1) "I didn't understand this because you didn't teach it well."
2) "You didn't understand the answer I was going for when I wrote this."
3) "I had horrendous personal circumstances that affected my ability to do this assignment, and now I would like you to spend a lot of time and energy giving me special considerations that no one else in the class will receive."
4) "You never said this would be on the exam."
5) The implication that the student will take the complaint higher up the food chain, thus producing headaches for everyone (especially adjuncts).
6) "I think you haven't graded my work the same way you graded ____'s work because I'm ______."

(And yes, in some specific cases, perhaps some of these complaints have merit. But they're also effective strategies for guilting someone into giving a higher grade!)

[livejournal.com profile] wavyarms, I can't actually think of a good grade-grubbing story but the best case of plagiarism I've seen involved a student who traced over another student's drawings without her knowledge and turned the copies in as his own. He'd had a long history of various other incidents; this one was sort of the icing on the cake. It was super-obvious that he'd copied her work, because part of the assignment was for the student to decide how to lay out the whole plate of drawings--no two looked alike, except for theirs! And on her drawing, she'd misspelled a word. He'd originally traced over the misspelling, then noticed it, erased it mostly, and rewrote the word. I don't even think he tried to get out of this one, he just withdrew from the program when confronted...

Date: 2012-12-22 10:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wavyarms.livejournal.com
Yeah, your reasons are very logical.

As for that student...man. Amazing how much effort plagiarism can be.


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