Saturday, October 18, 2008


I've been swamped preparing midterms for next week. As a student I didn't appreciate all the effort that went into making an exam. I also didn't appreciate the rush of panicked students to the teacher's office. Of course, I knew that many questions were from a test bank, or were from previous exams (this being my first semester I don't have any).

But what if the test bank stinks? What if it has typos, wrong answers, vague questions, multiple correct answers, etc.? It means I won't be using that textbook again. My students only paid $120 for a textbook that's sub-par.

What if the textbook doesn't come with software to help you compile questions from the test bank and make an answer key quickly? I won't be using that textbook ever again.

When you have 4 classes and about 125 students taking an exam in two days, you know you're not going to assign a bunch of short answer/essay questions. Scantron wins.

Unless writing out 50-60 multiple choice questions by hand because the test bank stinks is too time-consuming. In which case, you assign 5-6 long problems or short answer / essay questions.

I held a 90 minute exam review session for one class on Friday night. Friday night! Never thought I'd be doing that. 1/4 of the class came. I'm glad the other 3/4 didn't come, that meant they had better places to be, or girlfriends, or boyfriends. This is college! I'm having one for another class on Monday night, which will probably be very well-attended.

At my current school midterms are mailed home every semester-- hence professors have to take the time to compile the grades. I haven't heard of midterms since I was in high school, so this is an odd concept. And I feel bad for the students who have Ds and Fs because of lack of grades so far. But not too bad.

I don't think my parents ever saw a report card when I was in college; grades were mailed to my apartment (and were promptly disposed of).

1 comment:

justin said...

Was Friday night the only time you could have held the exam?

To be honest, I probably would not have been there. But then again I am one of those people who would spend their Friday reading.