Expanding on essay length listed in syllabus

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In my syllabus, I listed the length of an essay as 10 pages.  I usually like to give my students an upper limit, and I am wondering whether in the assignment sheet, I can list the length as 10-12 pages for those who like to write long, or whether I have to stick to just 10 pages because that is what's listed in the syllabus.  I don't want to have to field complaints about this!

If you don't want complaints, stick to what you've written in the syllabus.

Oh, just put 10-12 on the instruction sheet. No one is going to notice or care.

If they did read the syllabus and have set into their brains that they are going to write a 10-page paper, then so what, you're still allowing a 10-page paper.

So long as a 10-page paper can still earn an "A," nobody will complain.  But honestly, why in the world are you even interested in reading more than 10 pages?  Worse, you're now going to get a ton of 12-page papers that are really 10-page papers, since students assume that longer is always better -- and psychologically I'd much rather grade the 10-pager.

This is why I always give a word count and tell them they can go +/- 10%.  If I want a 10-12 page paper, it is approx. 3000 words. It cuts back on the students who play with fonts and margins, and I don't have to play formatting police.


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