Thursday, May 28, 2015

"Q & A & E" Question, Answers, and Evaluation With Kelsoe.

Today we'll be grading papers from a remedial math class that shouldn't award college credit, but is offered anyway, because our institution values student $ucce$$.

(Note: numerical values have been altered to increase student anonymity.)

Question: 2 * 3 = ?

Answer: 6
Evaluation: Good for you. Full credit.

Answer: 5
Evaluation: Umm... it was multiplication, not addition. Could be an honest mistake. A little bit of credit -- maybe 3/10? Please be more careful in the future.

Answer: 42
Evaluation: I see what you did there. Hitchhiker's Guide reference. Proudly conveying your geek cred. Well, maybe 1/10 credit... better than a blank answer.

Answer: 69
Evaluation: I see what you did there. Trying to be clever with a sexual reference. Maybe testing to see if I'm "hip with the lingo"? I get it -- but you won't. Zero credit.

Answer: 78,348,591
Evaluation: What the hell is this? Zero credit, and you get to talk to me later. I need to do a sanity check.

Answer: X
Evaluation: I see what you did there. Apparently you've heard of this thing called algebra, where letters can be any number you want. Trying to impress me, perhaps show me that you're too smart to be here? Well, somehow you placed into this class, so you're probably not as smart as you're pretending to be. You may be right for one value of X, but you're wrong for infinitely many other values. Fuck you, and zero credit.

Answer: a picture of a flower (a really nice one)
Evaluation. Hey, it shows effort. 1/10 credit.

Answer: a picture of a six-pack
Evaluation: Well, fuck me, that's unexpectedly clever, entertaining, and can be considered correct. Full credit and a bonus point.

Answer: (left blank)
Evaluation: (left blank)
...because as the CM motto goes: "don't care more about their education than they do."


  1. I find myself marking like this. Then scaling up the exam a few points. Then hating myself.

  2. Had that happened to me while I was teaching, I would have been hauled into the department head's office and given a thorough dressing-down for asking such *hard* questions. After all, my job was to simply "show them the formula and how to use it".

    And people wondered why I quit such a "good" job.....

  3. What's the line from the "goon old days," if it's little we're going to say it's little? When did our profession - and I'm trapped and guilt as well - become so defensive. Why can't we just evaluate and move on.

    This funny post above gave me chuckles, and then I thought about how true to life it is, too. God, the business can really suck the life out of me sometimes.

    Here's the quote: "What we believe here is that if it's little, you say it's little.” Nearly 10 years ago!