A student I taught is really a good student but writes like he is writing with his wrong hand.

The college where I teach requires every one to administer a subjective final exam for 60% of the grade. Its a 3 hour exam and people usually fillout a 30 page booklet. I know many lecturers gave him bad grades because they were too impatient to read his answers they gave him B+ or a B when he deserves at-least a A. I know this cause I taught him Data structures using C and he performed very well while he got a mere B grade in a C language course.

Should I mention this in my LOR or will mentioning this have some bad consequence for him.

I can easily grade 3 students in the time I grade his one paper. So I can imagine how some universities could see him as a liability.

  • 1
    As much as I hate to say it, I feel that handwriting is normally a skill you can practice and improve, so mentioning that a person has horrible handwriting is almost akin to implying that he "doesn't take writing seriously."
    – Compass
    Dec 11 '14 at 14:37
  • 2
    Aside from whether mentioning it is wise, your evidence seems a little flimsy. There are various reasons he might have deserved a B in his C language course: maybe he knew C well but didn't complete the coursework, maybe he didn't know C well at the time but has since mastered it, etc. Dec 11 '14 at 14:39
  • Is there anything I could do for him? I really think he deserves to get into a good Grad school. You should see his assignments, projects, presentations.
    – Mr.Byte
    Dec 11 '14 at 14:39
  • @AnonymousMathematician I spoke with his C instructor. I saw his lab work and I saw his Answersheet. He got a A+ for the C lab, the highest. For all the assignments everything included he got 38/40 in internal evaluation which didn't require him to write anything
    – Mr.Byte
    Dec 11 '14 at 14:42
  • @Mr.Byte: That suggests that he is bad at writing. Is it clear that handwriting is what is knocking his grades down? If I can't read what someone wrote, I postpone the evaluation until I figure out what it says. So do you. How do you "know" that others are different? Dec 11 '14 at 22:03

I would not mention this no, this should not have any consequence to the students application, it may be a little out of place. It would be worth advising the student to inform any future places of study about his handwriting he may be able to get some alternate support with regard to exams.

I would not see this student as a liability, just maybe needing a little extra support in this area, it is fair for an examiner to not spend ages marking one students paper due to bad handwriting, so long as they give it a fair go and a good effort.

  • 4
    Also in many respects, hand-writing isn't all that important anymore. If the student can type well, that'll get them far in life. I also agree with your comment that this seems out of place.
    – gammapoint
    Dec 11 '14 at 15:06
  • Especially on a more technical course, my entire 3rd year of my Computer Science bachelors was coursework which required no writing, and in previous years I only had a few written exams which were in maths and software engineering.
    – 80gm2
    Dec 11 '14 at 15:10
  • Should I advice him against pursuing a higher degree? I kinda feel like I am obligated to do something for him. Should I ask him to see some help or something?
    – Mr.Byte
    Dec 11 '14 at 15:58
  • @Mr.Byte If he is a bright student you should do everything in your power to encourage him into a higher degree. Just speak to the student, voice your concerns and offer solutions such as practising, alternate exam arrangements etc. At the end of the day you can only do so much as their teacher, ultimately the student is responsible for his education. In most cases handwriting can be improved - maybe introduce him to LaTeX?
    – 80gm2
    Dec 11 '14 at 16:10
  • He has already passed out of college with 3.2 GPA. I am worried if college systems in US would accommodate his special needs. Like all the professors.
    – Mr.Byte
    Dec 11 '14 at 16:38

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