Friday, June 10, 2005

Feedback on the Stuff that Really Matters

Category: education. I just finished a column over at the Daily Pennsylvanian about how ineffecient TAs are.
Instead of seeing your paper littered with insignificant comments about the word "therefore" or the pronoun "it," you get feedback on stuff that actually matters. A professor may analyze the overall vigor of your argument, along with any major omissions that you might have made, or give suggestions on how to improve a specific argument. The difference is clear; the paper is not drowned in venom, only the just right amount of venom is used.
I've always felt these students must be the children of divorced parents, the way they go back and forth b/t the prof and the TA trying to "earn" a point.
For example, last semester, when writing a paper on Kant, I went to my professor's office hours to discuss my ideas for critiquing Kant's arguments. I got some constructive feedback, which I incorporated into my paper. But my TA disagreed with the entire critique, so even though the professor thought I had a point, it didn't matter. Clearly, then, for grading purposes, it matters just as much who you give your paper to as it does how well you write the paper.
Mostly profs are too busy to correct your high school mistakes. And who is this (evidently not an "A") student telling profs and TAs what is the right amount of venom? (my personal opinion is grade inflation, but that is a different post)


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