When evaluating and grading students' work in technical fields (like computer science or mathematics), I often face ones that are really messy, sometimes even unreadable (I mean structure, not - handwriting). It's not clear at all what part belongs to what or what is the final result. Instead of spending a lot of time trying to figure out if there is a good result buried somewhere in the mess, I'm tempted to just fail such a work as unreadable.
While these (I'd say) formal aspect don't reflect the ability of the student to solve the problem, it strongly reflects his/her ability to present the solution. And in their future professions, it won't be much good that they can solve problems, if they're not able to present the solution to someone else. Or for example grant agencies simply reject proposals that fail even slightly given formal criteria.
My questions are:
- Should the evaluation include evaluation of readability, proper structure etc. for example in a textual form (without impacting the final grade perhaps), something like "The solution is completely unreadable." or for a larger work "The solution lacks a proper structure - there is no introduction or conclusion of what have been accomplished." etc.?
- Should such deficiencies be also reflected in the grade? If so, how much? Would it be acceptable to even fail a work just because it's completely unreadable?