My astronomy students turned in their first papers last week. The assignment is an article summary, in which they read a newspaper/magazine/internet piece on an astronomy topic and summarize it in one page. Nothing high stress, but rather my way of getting them to read science in the news. As part of grading, I mark spelling and grammatical errors. I did have a student object to this once, because I'm not an English teacher. Egads! I do think it is my duty to have them write as part of the astronomy curriculum. My physics students also have to write a short paper. I think it's important that students are held responsible for their writing skills, even outside the English classroom. After all, the goal of most composition classes is to prepare the students for their other courses, right?
I receive notices about students who take advantage of campus tutoring to proofread their papers for spelling and grammatical errors. One of these students turned in a paper full of errors. To whom do I give the benefit of the doubt - to the student, who perhaps did not receive the help she needed? Or to the tutor, who perhaps helped, but my student didn't follow through? Sigh. More hot chocolate is required.