Monday, 12 January 2015

Marking Essays with Cake

I'm not sure whether it is because writing essays is clearly like making a cake, or whether it is simply that marking essays makes me hungry for cake - either way, I do seem to refer to cake an awful lot while marking.

Here are some of the cake-related criticism I have made so far...

  • This essay is a little bit like a cake where the oven door was opened too soon: It starts and ends excellently, but has something of a dip in the middle.

  • Your references are scattered throughout rather like sprinkles on a cake: Tasy in themselves, but never really integrated with the rest of the recipe.

  • The different parts of the essay are excellent, but it does feel rather as though you are making a cake with the right ingredients but no instructions.

  • Some of your points don't seem to fit your argument, which suggests a lack of planning: Like starting to bake a cake before checking sure you have all the right ingredients, and consequently having to make do with convenient alternatives.

  • You really must include more critical sources - which are the leavening agent of any essay.  Without them your essay sounds unleavened, and consequently rather flat and unconvincing.

  • It is really important to make sure that your sources are academically credible for an undergraduate essay.  Using sources like this is rather like using salt instead of sugar in a cake: It might look the same but it leaves a nasty taste that can spoil the whole.

  • The different parts of your essay are clearly separated - which is fine for a battenburg cake, but you really need to be aiming for something more like a marble cake, with your central argument swirling through the whole thing.

Anyone got any more suggestions?