Friday, February 08, 2013


This ought to hurt a little

It usually happens right after the first exam of the semester. Somewhere between one third to two thirds of the class is disappointed with the results. Nearly everyone expected an A or a B. Many are surprised they earned a C, D, or even an F. I give an assignment:
Send me an e-mail message by noon on Wednesday that contains two things:

1. A description of what you think went wrong on your exam and why you didn't score better.
2. A description of what you plan to do to deal with the problem(s) described in #1 and how you're going to do it.
Except for the few fatalists who signed up for the class in full expectation of miserable failure (why are they even there?), the students tend to take the assignment seriously. Interesting and often thoughtful responses come in:
I think part of my reason for scoring so low was I didn't thoroughly double check my work. I missed a good amount of points by not double checking that I knew answers to, or just wrote down wrong but still knew the right answer to.
An excellent observation. We have a long class period and I allow my students the entire time for the exam. They have ample opportunity to review and check their answers. Getting out the door before the class period is over is not a good priority.
I skipped the last two sections of the chapter so I didnt get enough practice with the word problems. I also made a lot of simple mistakes that could have been avoided if I would have checked my work carefully.
Self-knowledge. A beautiful thing. The next step is to actually do something about it.
I didn't push myself hard enough to finish all chapter homework. which would of help me master solving linear equations, inequalities and problem solving ect.
Indubitably. Hardly anyone succeeds without practice, and that's what the homework is for. Thanks for noticing.
I think my problem for the test was I didn't study enough.
Yes, I do recommend the practice of studying. Do please give it a try.
1. I think what was wrong with the exam and why I got such a low score was the fact that I barely got any sleep. 2. Study more, go to bed early, and be more prepared. Also I should try to understand certain problems more
Okay, I think you raise some good points. People do better on exams when they are well rested. However, I sense an element of denial. Of the last five class days, you missed three. See the problem?


evlunclbud said...

Sometimes I too hear such honesty, Zeno. Since I teach writing, I also hear "it's subjective" (usually not with the apostrophe), "you grade too hard," and "I'm not good at English" (again, not always with the apostrophe). I find the students who care will call, email, or visit.

prfesser said...

It's funny how most exams are "too hard." Rarely if ever do I hear that an exam is too easy. Shouldn't it be a 50-50 ratio, roughly?

Then again, I'm probably just a hardass who expects more than non-reasoning regurgitation...

Unknown said...

A friend of mine, an adjunct at a local CSU, was last week trying to figure out if she could drop the people who've NEVER ATTENDED A SINGLE CLASS in favor of those on the waiting list. I haven't, at this point, heard the answer, but I'll ask next time we talk.