Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Meta comments on exams

I've just finished marking midterm exams. I'm not satisfied with my exam making skills, but student's marks seemed well spread out which is the main thing. I think I'm actually checking the things I think I am but it's not always clear.

In the first year book, there is a conversation with the lines:
A3: What's your student number?
B3: It is 20070000.
Oh, the threes mean these are the third line each character speaks.
On the exam, I had the same question and many times got the exact same answer (20070000). As almost all the students started at university in 2009, the above number just has to be wrong. Also, no one gets a null number (....0000).
Did the students think the conversations, rather than models to be adjusted to fit, were authoritative, historic quotes to be memorized? Mister Lee and Doctor Choi (the authors of the first year text) have done their best, but they are no Shakespeares.

Possibly more interesting to my readers are the extra comments written on a few papers and addressed to me, rather than focussed on the exam itself (click to embiggen).

This student was not a student in the Tuesday class. I don't think he/she was a math student but I am not sure how else to explain the 'pi' signs on the face (yes, I know, the Korean letter for "YU" looks both like a Greek 'pi' and tears falling.
The big red loop, some of which can be seen means that not one question was answered on this page and the total for this page is zero.

I think the 'T's at the end of the second line are also representative of tears.

I'm not sure how I specifically helped this student but the comment is pleasant. With that score, it seems more apple-polishing than anything else, though.

This student loves me -and was paying more attention to me than other commenting students, as evidenced by the above-50% mark.

Another student loves me, although she (I blanked out the name, but it was a feminine name) was unable to look at the upper left, where I wrote my own name, for spelling purposes. On the bottom-right is the beginning of another long loop: this student did not answer the first few questions or the page at all.

Oh, I want to tell you about a great prank I played on my students. On Monday and Tuesday, I had second year exams and I had some blank exams left over so on Thursday and Friday, I would go into class early, write some notes on the board and left, absent-mindedly leaving the (wrong) exams on my desk. Then, from the corner of a window I would watch a few brave or desperate students crowd around the desk, checking out the exams. In two or three classes the students didn't notice or were too honest or apathetic and didn't move from their desks. Still, good times.

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