I can't read this student's writing!

Discussion in 'General Education' started by raneydae, Feb 1, 2009.

  1. raneydae

    raneydae Companion

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    When grading finals, the correct answer to a question was 1:4. I had a student write 1:8 and I marked it wrong. Afterward ,the student came to me and said that the 8 was actually a 4 and he just wrote his 4s (haha - is my apostrophe use correct?) really messy. I said I'd look at it and get back to him.

    I've compared the way he's written 4s on other parts of the test and even on other papers, but they never seemed that ambiguous before. I want to still count the problem wrong as it sure looks like an 8 to me, but I'm afraid he's going to question me again and tell me I'm wrong.

    Honestly, the few extra points on his final is not going to change his semester grade one way or another as we grade by letter grades and he's a pretty solid C.

    Should I give it to him, just to not cause more trouble, or should I tell him he needs to write neater in the future and still count it wrong?
     
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  3. MsMar

    MsMar Fanatic

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    If all his other 4s on the test don't look like that so called 4, then mark it wrong. Look for his 8s also and see how they're written. You could also show the answer to other teachers and ask them what number they think it is. If nobody thinks it's a 4, then I'd definitely stick with it being the wrong answer. I would not give it to him just to avoid trouble, it sets a bad precedent.
     
  4. DallasTeacher

    DallasTeacher Companion

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    If I d compared the number in question to others on his paper and STILL believed it to be an 8, I wouldn't give in. He needs to be taught to write so that others can read it. If ou aren't sure, then have another member of your team look at the answer and tell you what it reads. If the student argues again that it's a "4" explain that a "committee" has reviewed and found the writing to resemble an 8. Personally, I don't "argue/debate" grades. If I can't read it, it's wrong. 4's have at least 1 straight line if not 3, whereas 8s do not have any straight lines. I don't see how one can confuse the two numbers.
     
  5. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    Raney,
    I can't tell you how many times each year I sit with parents and tell them "Your child must learn to write clearly and correctly!" I get so tired of the "this is how I do it" excuse. I teach 2nd grade, and if they haven't learned it correctly by 2nd grade, then they need to work on it immediately. I try to explain to parents that this "will be a problem later in life" and that now is the time to catch it and do something about it. Now, I'm not talking about kids with learning disabilities, developmental delays, or disabilities -- I'm talking about kids who are just too lazy to do it correctly.

    If a teacher can't read it, and there is not IEP for a disability, then it is wrong. That is the consequence for not writing clearly.
    I don't expect beautiful handwriting -- just something that is legible! Personally, by high school, a child needs to realize that if they don't write clearly, then the answer is going to be marked wrong.
     
  6. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Feb 1, 2009

    Give it to an unbiased observer-- your mom, husband, or next door neighbor. Ask him or her to read it to you.

    And let the kid know what happened and how you resolved it. Let him know that his lack of attention may or may not have cost him points.
     
  7. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Even in second grade I tell them if I can't read it, it is counted wrong (even on the speed tests). Sorry.
     
  8. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    I give them a couple of six weeks to get their writing in shape, and then, if I can't read it, it's wrong. My kids take the LEAP test in April (staring on April Fool's Day - how ironic is that???). These high stakes tests are graded out of state. No one is going to call the school to see what the child meant to write. Even if that wasn't an issue, though, they have to learn to write correctly, or at least clearly enough to be read. Besides I can't begin to imagine how someone could make a 4 and 8 look similar. I even sat here and tried to do it myself! :D
     
  9. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    I also have the "if I can't read it, it is wrong" policy. When questionable, I will compare it to other letters/numbers to see if they match. But, if I can't read it, I mark it wrong.
     
  10. each1teach1

    each1teach1 Cohort

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    I also have the "if I can't read it, it's wrong" policy. When my kids start whining about what they meant to write, I tell them "You need to write it so that when you're not here to explain it, I still know what it means. When I'm sitting in my living room grading, I can't ask you what you 'meant' to write so I have to mark them as I see them." They still whine a bit, but when they see you apply it across the board, they let it go for the most part.

    As some mentioned, I will look over the assignment and see what similar letters and numbers looked like and often that will solve the problem. But I wouldn't give in just because the kid says that's what he meant to write. If you give in once, he'll expect you to do it every time he wants a few more points and he thinks anything can be misinterpreted.
     
  11. Bored of Ed

    Bored of Ed Enthusiast

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    Unless the kid has a documented or otherwise obvious handwriting, I'd say it's their responsibility to make sure their answer LOOKS LIKE the right answer! If you haven't made that your clear policy in the past, I'd look at the kid's other 4's and 8's and see if there's any possibility here, but even if there is I'd warn him about the future. Frankly, I need an illustration here -- I'm having a hard time visualizing a 4 that looks like an 8! I've seen 4's look like 9's, but...
     
  12. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    I'm gonna laugh a little bit on the 4's that look like 9's. I recently kept score on the board while the teacher played a Jeopardy game. I purposely wrote my 9's to look like 4's and vice versa. I waited until the students started complaining. Then I made my point about how it really IS important to write clearly to avoid misunderstanding but only after I did a whole confused, "what are you talking about" act. On one student's column I even miscalculated the total as if I couldn't read my own writing. LMBO! Then the teacher went on a slight tangent about how this even affects their money when writing on checks, etc (we didn't tell them you have to write out the number word as well).

    (I gave the teacher a heads up before I did it).
     
  13. Bored of Ed

    Bored of Ed Enthusiast

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    CNG: Clever :D
     
  14. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    I love talking to fellow teachers. I made my husband read that and he didn't quite see the humor in it.
     
  15. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    :agreed:

    I couldn't have said it any better than this, so I'll just let rainstorm speak for me.
     
  16. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    You know what Rainstorm, I remember very vividly in college that my professor counted off every time we misspelled a word. I quickly learned which words I was commonly spelling wrong each and every time (on handwritten tests). I learned those words. One of them is "decide." I used to spell it, "deceide." It doesn't even look remotely correct now but I promise it was a good lesson to learn. Granted, I still got counted off if I had a word I didn't spell often but it did help me correct the words I did commonly misspell. Recently I noticed I spell accommodations without the two m's. I now notice when I spell the same word wrong over and over and do something about it. It's not harsh to teach this way. It can be very beneficial.
     
  17. teachin4ever

    teachin4ever Cohort

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    I second this. If they're that concerned about getting it right, they'd slow down and take the time to make sure you can read it. Otherwise, I'm not going to take the time to figure out what they were trying to put.
     
  18. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    Ask another teacher and go with that. The student should know how to clearly write a number and expect that the teacher will only be able to read clearly written numbers.
     
  19. teacherpippi

    teacherpippi Habitué

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    Feb 2, 2009

    If I can't read it, I mark it wrong.

    If you make this your new policy and have kids sign it, you can put it into place soon!
     

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