Wednesday, May 30, 2001

A Look at Math in Language Arts

Let's say I give a writing assignment to students, a major report or essay. Suppose I spent 15 minutes reading and assessing this student work. This is not unreasonable for an assignment a student worked a long time on. Let's say I have 150 students. Five classes a day, 30 students per class.

How long will it take me to grade this assignment?

Approximately 37 1/2 hours.

This time for grading cannot be found during the school day with meetings, phone calls, planning, etc. Any wonder why teachers don't give research assignments or in-depth writing?

My students asked me why I didn't just flip through the pages to make sure it was there and then grade on the fact that it exists. My answer was that I've never taken the easy route and that their hard work warranted more attention than that.

Teachers have been asking for smaller classes for a long time. Teachers want to do a quality job teaching. Why are we never given the conditions and tools we need to do the kind of job that needs to be done?

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