I have a frustration this week; it’s rare that students truly frustrate me, but this week they have accomplished the feat.
Three weeks ago I assigned a required assignment for my American Literature class, a class with quite a broad range of skill levels. The assignment was quite simple: each student chose a chapter of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn to summarize using at least eight events and/or quotations.
I gave the students one week to accomplish this small task, one I assumed would be quick, painless, and easy for the students. However, when I received the writings the students had not even come to close to meeting a minimum standard on the assignment. I received thematic analyses, editorials, and character analyses.
Next, I created a check list for the students, so they could rewrite the summaries. Last Friday the students turned in the summaries. They were better. However, they did not use the check lists. Of the ten items on the check list, only one student completed eight of the check list items.
Today I returned the summaries for a final time and walked the students through the checklist with their summaries item by item. They have until Friday to make the corrections.
I’m not entering a score until this third due date. I want them to do it correctly rather than worry about points. My concern, though, is that laziness and not inability is the culprit. When capitalization and indentation is an issue for 11th graders, I become quickly concerned. Granted, this is not the most exciting assignment, but I am required to have the students complete it at standard.
I guess I’ll find out if the third time really is the charm.