Monday, October 18, 2010

Here's Some Advice

Remember sitting at your desk, waiting for the teacher to come by and hand over your exam? An awkward divide between students celebrating and others putting their heads down on their desks. Even more awkward if the test was handed back to you face down. That's when you know you fucked up. I can't remember there being any worse feeling in high school than getting a shitty grade. Thanks Mom.

I handed back graded projects and exams last Friday and today. The project involved grading an exam "I" had taken. The point was to get my students to think about the correct or incorrect work shown and then figure out on their own whether or not the selected answer was marked correctly. Students also had to explain their rationale for their answers.

As expected, my students did fairly better on the project than on the exam, even though the exam was basically very similar to the exam they had to grade in the project.

My conclusion is that students generally took their time doing the project, and those who actually wrote thorough answers seemed to do even better because they were able to convey their thoughts on paper, which meant they actually organized their thoughts, which meant they actually had thoughts prior to writing. Nice. Most of these students then rushed through the test because they simply skimmed. And of course, when they skimmed, their minds picked up only familiar words in the questions. This resulted in misreading the question or completely misinterpreting what was being asked for.

Nevertheless, I thought it was a very cool project, and so did the bulk of the students who actually filled out the last question on the project. The last question on all of my projects are reflective: what did you think? How difficult was this? Was it helpful? And so on...

As I graded projects, I left comments so that my students could go through their work and see what they missed or what my thoughts were. When I saw one student's response to the last question on my project, I couldn't help myself: I had to be a smart ass (see Exhibit A below). Of course, this kind of shit can't fly without a good working relationship with the student. And of course, they have to know you're a sarcastic dick.

Exhibit A: Great advice.


Miss G said...


Anonymous said...

That was hilarious.

Yo Mista said...


Anonymous said...

its usually the sarcastic dicks that the students are going to remember for years to come! Sooo keep up the great work! :)

Yo Mista said...

@ Anonymous:
I hope that's true... It was true for me!