Walking A Tightrope
When there is only one answer to a proposed question, it is very easy to tell a student 'No, Darwin did not state that we were created from the rib of Adam. Try again,' but when you're assessing someone's knowledge in a subjective way, it can be tough.
Especially when the concept is a difficult one to visualize.
I'd been told over and over that I am not the average student, that the questions I pose aren't typical, that the pressure I put on myself to do a good job exceeds about 90% of the rest of the students. I didn't believe it. Why come to college to do anything less than absorb and assimilate what you learn?
Then again, I'd never heard "C's mean degrees" until my last semester and someone threw it at me that I was just being too darn anal-retentive about an assignment. To me, it was all about the A's.
Now, I'm seeing proof of what I'd been told about the typical student, but I'm thinking that as graduate students, they should be striving for A's and maybe failing to hit that mark some of the time. Five weeks in and I'm seeing that my assumption was way off base.
So, you walk a tightrope. How do you tell a student that they didn't get the concept, the purpose of the assignment, without deflating their ego? How much direction is too much? How many points off sends the message that 'this is not graduate quality work'? Especially when this class really ties together all the concepts that the student will use in this career field after graduation?
Ultimately, being a teaching assistant is providing more lessons than the credit classes this semester...