Grading Papers without Reading Them

This one from PHD Comics certainly rings true:

Not that I actually graded papers without reading them, of course.  But, after having done it a while, you get a pretty good sense of what you’re going to encounter.

Shared by Steven Taylor via Google Reader.

FILED UNDER: Education, Humor, , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. odograph says:

    I guy I knew put “circle this for a free pizza” in every one of his 200-level physics lab reports. The grader never got a free pizza.

    We also noticed that when I drew nice illustrations for my reports I got higher grades.

  2. bigfire says:

    So this is how Congress pass TARP II?

  3. Our Paul says:

    Looks more to me as an exchange between a (gasp) left leaning policy wonk and a center right Southern Senator. Title of the paper?

    “Deleterious effects on our state’s economy if aspects of the Stimulus package are rejected. Selected economic data, political implications, and the slow death of Reagan economics.

    The final spoken line by the putative professor certainly appear to be the attack line of the Republican members of Congress…

    Before closing off and going to bed, I should point out to odograph the my link to Stiglitz in the thread to your post Limbaugh, Failure, and Media Distortion was not a snark, but an attempt to pass on information on this complex problem to him and the readership. The discussion about Limbough sure tickled my fun bone!

    Unfortunately, when it comes to snarks, the same cannot be said for this communication.

  4. lunacy says:

    I had a prof who I busted doing this. I always got an A, and based on his comments and typos he overlooked I felt certain he didn’t read my essays.

    I tested my theory by putting something preposterous in the middle. He never say it.

    From that point on I wrote intelligent first sentences and last sentences to every paragraph and lamed out on the inner sentences.

    He never noticed. All A’s for L.

  5. Wayne says:

    I found often times that it had more to do with a professor’s like or dislike with a student or their philosophies. I had roommates once that switch their papers on a bet to prove the point. Sure enough the point was made. Granted their skills were pretty close but that was what started the bet.

    Oh, those who would go in and butter up the professors and show them how hard they were trying, often got better grades as well. It is nothing but a game.

  6. Rick Almeida says:

    Don’t forget the magic of the B+ grade. Bad students will never question it, and better students usually assume they just missed the A.