July 19, 2009

Exam reflections

Today I finished grading my summer class finals. USF's Blackboard installation is throwing a hissy fit when I try to upload the grades, and it's Sunday, so I'll wait for the tech wizards to straighten things out early in the week. In the meantime, since my brain is fried, I'll repeat a few thoughts I've had while grading in the last few days (memory of thoughts more than active thinking at the moment):

  • My individualized questions worked (I had quoted early-paper passages back to students and asked them to rethink their ideas): I had some wonderfully thoughtful responses that I strongly doubt they would have written without confronting their own writing.
  • Ah... one more benefit to using mail-merge so I could create individualized exams: student names on each page, so if one tears off, I don't have to identify it by process of elimination.
  • Looks like the rubric-on-every-page experiment worked to save me time/energy, and a few students obviously were reading them. (Each page of the exam had a single question, space for a longish paragraph, and then explicit scoring criteria at the bottom.) Not as many as I expected, but I think I'll keep this as well. Maybe use it for weekly quizzes...
  • Why did so many of them forget to cite sources on this question but not others?
  • This was obviously an easy question if you had done the reading and slow death if you hadn't. Glad that was my desire.
  • Oh, I need to e-mail those authors and tell them what the students learned from reading the pieces (respectively).
  • I'm glad I placed that question at the end of the exam: a few students tried to bluff their way through earlier questions, but this one showed who had read the stuff or paid attention in the review session. It's not as though I didn't telegraph the question sufficiently, but I was worried that I had made it too easy to answer this without having done the reading. I guess I was wrong!
I have the class's papers queued up on my ebook reader for the next week, to juggle along with other tasks. And when I've taken short breaks this weekend, I've started to fantasize about a large class on education policy--how to build in co-teaching, create a model that would sustain some graduate student involvement, and possibly put it online (and appropriately so). Oh, yes, and make it fun. Possibly idle hallucinations while trying to read all sorts of handwriting, but we'll see.
Listen to this article
Posted in Teaching on July 19, 2009 10:10 PM |