Delays, Delays, Delays.

answer the monkeyphone!

I’m trying desperately to come up with the data I need to flesh out Part 3 of this essay series. The NYSED hasn’t been able to co-operate efficiently [I spent 57 combined minutes on hold after asking how many examinees took a given test in a calendar year], so I’ve been forced to look elsewhere. I was hoping to have it done yesterday.

For now, I’d like to call your attention to two new articles:

1. Is homework overrated? Bell Work Online wants to know. “So, why do teachers assign homework? Do kids really need it? Does homework truly teach anything? I feel pretty strongly about this, but I’d like to see what other teachers and people in education think.” He’s got survey results from his school, his students and is ready for a flood of comparative opinion.

2. Grading the Grader: A Tangent on Grading the Essay. Daniel at Key Words wrote a lengthy treatment of Grading the Essay Part 2 – give it a read. He disagrees with every bit of my analysis. And, when I say every, I mean every; I even got my own name wrong and he was kind enough to show me that it’s actually Michael.

Commenter Julia pointed out the flaw and called it “baffling.” I’m likely to agree – most of the negative e-mail I get includes some reference to vanity on my site. My name’s everywhere. Daniel responded to her charge:

Not baffling at all – I don’t know the guy and have no previous exposure to his name. I paid little attention to his name since the SUBSTANCE of the article was my main concern. I found his name in the title less than easy on the eyes (bunched together in a fringe font isn’t very user friendly). I copied the title with a right click on the tab instead of bothering to read it and I wrote the whole thing between phone calls at work. He’s lucky I got the initial right.

Lucky indeed.

I’d love to respond in full to his analysis, but the prospect of shoveling the Augean Stables with a teaspoon on a Friday afternoon doesn’t appeal. We’ll see.

2 Responses to “Delays, Delays, Delays.”

  1. Daniel says:

    I do want to apologize for getting your name wrong. That was careless of me.

    Oh, and far from disagreeing with “every bit” of your analysis, there is a LOT that I do agree with. For instance, you are absolutely correct in saying the writer could express himself better. Your critique of his overuse of the ambiguous “world of work” phrase is right on the money. However, in a timed essay focused on content instead of writing elegance, I am not one bit surprised that he didn’t choose to define the meaning to provide a more cohesive essay. There is only so much anyone can do in an allotted amount of time under pressure. You might as well criticize him for not composing his essay en iambic pentameter.

    I also agree with your assessment of the writer’s readiness to imbue students with a sense of the world they are about to enter after school sans degree. My only issue here was, as I stated in my critique, that a college student with very likely no employment history whatsoever is singularly unqualified to approach the subject to begin with and that an assignment that demands as much from him puts him at a disadvantage from the start.

    Oh and I apologize about the length of my analysis as well. One of the many sins of writing I am guilty of is a predisposition to use a paragraph where a sentence will do. It probably means I have an inflated view of the importance of my words :)

    Finally, I just wanted to say as an aside, thanks for the link!

  2. ms_teacher says:

    I dislike homework probably as much as my students. As a parent of three, there has been many times where I have questioned why my child had to do a homework assignment.

    For myself, much of the homework that I assign is completing what was started in class, reinforcing a skill learned in class, and studying for upcoming quizzes or tests. This year I’m also setting up a classroom blog with assignments that students can either do as a homework assignment or do when they have finished work in the classroom.

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