Friday, May 11, 2007

No Insult

A commenter on my last post asks if I considered how it would make students feel. I hope students understand that there is no insult to them implied by the post. I refer to the exams as "bad essays," but how good could they be? It's not possible to write a really good essay in 30 or 60 minutes. I wouldn't write a good essay in that amount of time. Tom Wolfe wouldn't write a good essay in that amount of time. So while calling them all "bad essays" is a little hyperbolic, it's no criticism of the students. It's just a reflection on the inevitable quality that results from the exam situation.

2 comments:

Paul said...

Speaking as a former student of yours, I don't think I would have been terribly troubled to read this post a year ago while you graded my Admin and IP exams. I've written enough to know that my time-crunched answers on law school exams weren't exactly models of readable prose.

And anyways, based on the numbers in your last post (170 exams, 100 bad essays), at least 70 of your students can feel great. Unless, of course, that 70 includes essays that are worse than bad.

Jon Siegel said...

Thanks, Paul! I appreciate your taking the time to make this comment.