In history class, a week before this story, we did a practice AP exam. It included multiple choice, short answers, and two essays. Our teacher graded the multiple choice, but asked that we (the students) peer-graded the essays in class, so that A) it wouldn’t take long for the scores to go in and B) we could learn from our classmates. The assessment scores are only weighed as activities, and the lowest one can get is a B+. However, due to the highly competitive nature of my school, everyone wants at least an A-.
I pick up two papers. One is a reasonable length, about 3-4 pages front and back. The other, however, is a singular page, and I see that only part of it has been completed. I grade the former and then move on to the latter.
Looking closer, I realized that the reason there was only one page is because there are only two paragraphs. I wonder whether they didn’t finish before time was called or whether they just gave up midway. Then, I begin reading.
The intro paragraph seems to be a decent shot at the given prompt, but doesn’t quite hit the mark. We have a rubric with guidelines, and one of the components one should have is a good thesis. I look at his thesis and it doesn’t make sense, so I don’t count it.
The second paragraph is something like this:
Hey, I really did not study for this and I don’t remember anything at all about religious diffusion. I really really want a 90, so if you could just give me one, you would be the plug and I’d love you forever. Just a couple of facts to cement our friendship, if you’re gonna do this. My name is [Firstname] [Lastname] and I’m in [insertclassperiod]. I’m a huge [Regionalsportsteam] fan, and I love [sport]. My favorite color is [color], and I love [hobby]ing. If you give me a 90, I’d love to do it with you. Thank you so much.
I laughed really hard when I found this, especially when I remembered that this was the kid who constantly badgered my friend for the answers to all the homework (in the same history class, and even more classes they had together), while simultaneously bragging about how much better his grades were to her. He was known by many as an international mooch, so I was not very receptive to his plea. In fact, I showed it to my friends and we had a good laugh at his expense. We laughed so hard that the bell rang and my teacher collected the partially-graded works to look over later. I casually dropped a hint towards him and said, “You’ll like that one,” when I handed it over.
Later on, I realized that since the minimum score was a B+ and it was a 0 on the rubric, an A- would’ve been a 1. If he had just made a good enough thesis statement, I would have definitely given him the A- he desired!