For some reason I have only become more aware of this issue recently.
I have noticed, particularly among weaker undergraduate students, a lack of concern about details.
This is not just among beginning undergrads but even final year students.
Here are some examples, from a range of levels.
Force, energy, and power are not the same thing.
Each refers to distinct physical concepts and entities.
Similarly, temperature, heat, internal energy, and entropy...
The wave function, potential energy, and probability....
Every physical quantity has well-defined units. You need to state them and keep track of them in calculations.
These need to be justified and self-consistent.
Arguments and solutions to problems.
These need to be stated in a logical order. Assumptions and approximations need to be stated and justified.
The sloppiness is particularly evident in the exam papers of weaker students. One might excuse some because of the stress and rush of the situation. But, I also encounter some of the confusion and sloppiness in private discussions and assignments. Sometimes I fear they hope they can "bluff" their way towards some partial marks.
How does one address this issue?
I really don't know. I welcome suggestions.
One can certainly "nag" students about how the details do matter and penalise them in exams and assignments for sloppiness. However, this seems to have limited effect.