Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Teaching - loose ends...

Friends going away :
The end of the semester is both sad and happy... I'm happy to be done teaching, but sad that dog mom will be off to bigger and better things... She has a great sense of humor and is really smart -- BNCC is all the worse for not hiring her as a full-time person (although, I do really like the person they hired instead--- dog mom is just that much better... ).

Fast grading techniques:
I'm almost done with grading... one more section to quasi-grade and then the loose-ends for a couple of special students. I finally figured out that If my last assignment isn't worth more than 10% of the grade, getting a semi-final tally of their scores is VERY useful. Instead of thinking... is this a B of B+, you ask yourself, is this worth enough points to push the student into the higher final grade category?

For example, My assignment is worth 50 points, so far in the class Mary Sunshine's grade is 430 out of a class maximum of 500. If the paper in my hands is worth 20 points or 50 points does, it does not matter -- she gets her A (we don't have - or +, which makes the system work). That way, the decision is really easy -- on the other hand, if her grade is 402 -- you have to decide if her paper is nearly perfect enough to earn her the A for the course. If you only have to closely read a few, it cuts the time and doesn't sacrifice anything. If the student wants more feedback, tell them that they need to make an appointment and give their paper a quick read... it is pretty simple.

Student annoyance:
Grade-grubber-guy (GGG from now on) came in today-- he wanted to comlain about a grade he got LAST semester. Over Winter break we had an e-mail exchange that ended with me telling him that he'd have to come in so I could look at the paper I quasi-graded. When he stopped by to make the appointment he told me that he "felt" that he had done an excellent job. He came to every class (didn't say anything and was often not prepared -- for a once-per week class... yea, I'm impressed) -- and claimed to have done most of the work on their group presentation (impossible to verify, as his feedback sheet indicated the contributions of others...).

GGG was late to the last class meeting of the semester, thus missing the "class time plus 5 minutes" deadline I have for extra-credit. The deadline is uber-necessary, otherwise they just run out and write/print extra-credit during the last set of presentations and it is chaos. Somehow he missed the announcements that everyone else got -- probably because he was late a lot -- and wanted me to accept them anyway...

IF I gave him a perfect score on his last paper, he'd miss an A by 7 points. He had 10 extra-credit points... (so he says now... ).

On Monday I pulled out GGG's last assignments -- the ones he didn't get back. Among them were a 10 point quiz (with really easy answers) he didn't answer ONE question.. also, I took a look at his last paper -- the quazi-graded one. If I could find a valid reason to give GGG a C+, he'd be out of A range... and, what do I find but SEVEN places in which he used facts or quotations without any source citation. Triumph.... I gave it a D, entered the grade into excell, printed his grade summary for him and then got out the version of my syllabus from last year.

The syllabus bit is what clinched it -- I found that I said that ANY written work that uses the ideas of others needs an explicit citation. It then says that if a student does not do this, I consider it "cheating" and refer them to that section of my syllabus tht says I'll pretty much end them if they cheat.

I did a little happy dance when I found it -- and then I sat down to wait for GGG. It was a short meeting. I explained the hypothetical nature of his claim, then handed him his last paper and the places it should have citations, then I explained that plagarism is wrong and that he'd rather not have me open this up --because I could easily have this proven to be academic dishonesty -- I then handed him his copies of all of it all--

He said he didn't think it was "the kind of paper that needs citations" --(after looking for a description of the paper in the class handout) -- I told him that the general handout says ANY written work etc... and he caved.

Slaying the Administrative-type...
I'm convinced that administrators should NOT be allowed blackberries -- EVER. They only read the first part of e-mails they get on them and don't notice the file attachements --- I sent it to her FOUR times, she just figured out that I sent her the info today when I handed it to her on paper. I really hope she keeps her shit together long enough to get me paid... if not, I have another copy.

yea -- it has been a good day -- now, I should do the quasi grading so I can enter the grades tomorrow from the balcony... blisssssssssss

1 comment:

T-Mac said...

I'm going to use that grading technique this summer, thanks! :-)