Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Walking A Tightrope

Grading. It IS very interesting.

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...


2 People talked back:

JW said...

What is also amazing is that more and more I am seeing that college students are being required to send in their transcripts when apply for certain positions. A 'C' student comes across as someone is just makes it. A girl at work doesn't care what she gets in college just as long as she has a 'C'. I tell her it will come back to haunt her.

I don't think students appreciate and understand what is to be going on at the different levels of college. At one time I didn't but when I discuss it with people who are in the know I get a better understanding. For many students they don't care how they get the degree, just get it. They don't understand lacking the concepts will only get them so far in college and in their education. I am gradually understanding this myself.

one instance for me, I never understand why graduate school and PHD school-why is so much work pushed upon you? It makes no sense, there is not quality in quantity such as that. Then Jackie Reece tells me that the lower levels of school are preparing you to take on more and more and time management so that when you graduate you are very smart and can handle a multitude of tasks together. This concept is like an unwritten rule that not everyone understands-like me at one time.

JW

Suzanne said...

Everything you said is spot-on.

Employers are requiring 4 year degrees, then you must present the transcript before a job offer is made. All other things being equal, the candidate with a B average is going to win out over the C student every time.

You, my friend, are in that minority. You truly care about the work you contribute, but you also concern yourself with the purpose of the work. (You may not have realized this back in Profesora's class, but others did!)

Graduate school doesn't really press that much more work on students in the whole scheme of things. Rather, it's the quest to do quality work that sends one on explorations of more detail...