Eating History Essay Grades

I’m not terribly happy with the results of this essay, but it’s only one of many assignments that makes up your grades. The highest grade I gave on the essays was a B; the median and average were D and almost half of the registered population of the class didn’t hand in an essay (Yes, I take late assignments, with appropriate penalties; yes, it’s worth writing something and handing it in still, because even an F with penalties is worth a lot more than a zero). A few thoughts

The biggest grade-killers were essays that ignored instructions

  • Essays that didn’t pick a century
  • Essays that didn’t have anything to do with food history.
  • Essays that didn’t focus on immigration, politics or the media
  • Essays that focused on one, but didn’t address the “most important” question, assuming that “important” and “most important” were the same thing. (Some essays claimed to address the contrast/”more” aspect, but didn’t spend anywhere near enough time on the question to be serious.)
  • Essays that drew material from one or two chapters and missed important aspects of the issue in other parts of the book.

I’ll try to be a little more aggressive about explaining what I’m looking for on the next essay and final exam essays, but all of those errors could be avoided by reading the instructions carefully.