Posted by: unlikelygrad | March 13, 2010

Why I dislike grading this semester

Teaching the “trailer section,” I find there’s a substantial proportion of students who just can’t write. I can totally understand needing to adapt to the idea of scientific writing–but most people are just plain bad writers.

Here’s a prime sample of what I have to read through every week. This is the entire “discussion section” of the lab report. Note that it was indeed all one big paragraph–in fact, the data section was also included as part of this page-long paragraph. (I guess he couldn’t be bothered to make a table.) All spelling errors, lack of punctuation and capitalization, etc. below are copied directly from his report.

As for how accurate the Rydberg equation predicted the light spectrum emission lines of hydrogen it came within relitive accuracy human error may have played a role due to length away from light source and steadyness of holding the tip to the light source. The LED’s colors were terqouis, red, light green, purple, green, and blue. if the LED’s were producing equal light intensity then the color that would be emitting the most visible light would be red because it had the highest wavelength at its most intense peak. The fluoresant lights, compared to the incandesant light bulb, gave off more intensity in the same areas of wavelength as mercury did. the Hg light spectrum has a mid graph peak area where you fine the highest points of intensity, as does fluoresant light, and the light bulb gives off a more gradual steady rising intensity as you approach the highest wavelength possible to the visible eye.

I can’t believe they let this guy graduate from high school.



  1. oh, i have some of those too…the writing quality hasn’t improved over the quarter, but by now they are able to pick out relevant sources of error and (mostly) talk about their data coherently.

    i had one guy say in a discussion early on that calcium isn’t a metal. XD

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