I graded 35 or so essays yesterday and today for the Blogger Challenge. Some of them were good. I probably would have given a third of them good grades. One would have made in the high 90s if I were grading for my class.
1- Does that mean my grading has gotten too easy? I doubt it. I’ve had at least 15 students of the 70 drop out or just quit coming. Of course, maybe those are the ones who wouldn’t be making it anyway.
2- Do folks not know that an essay means more than a single paragraph? I had multiple single paragraph “essays.” That’s not an essay. I looked carefully and none of them appeared to be an artifact of having written in Word or somesuch and copying over.
3- Why did some of those people do this? They put in one sentence, sometimes not even clearly on the topic. They had twenty minutes to write it. Was that really the best they could do? (There was one person who was clearly trying but does not have mastery of the English language.)
4- Why did the SAT give their sample essay a 6? Was it because the person used examples from psychology? I almost think it has to be that. It certainly had some grammatical errors, but the scoring only requires “free of most errors.” For an essay to get a 6, it has to be insightful. As far as I can tell that means the author has to have an approach to the topic that isn’t common or usual. And that is what makes a 6 as opposed to a 5. I disagree with that, but my opinion wasn’t solicited- only my grading as per the SAT.