The Depressing Work of Grading Midterms

Q: Has the executive branch become unconstitutionally powerful in response to the war on terror?

A: No, the people elect him to protect us from foreign threats.

That’s the question I gave, and that’s the answer I got (from some students).

As much as I’m tempted to say some people shouldn’t go to college, I ultimately conclude that it’s a good thing they’re there. This is how they come in, but maybe at the end they walk out having learned to be a little more thoughtful.

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About J@m3z Aitch

J@m3z Aitch is a two-bit college professor who'd rather be canoeing.
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9 Responses to The Depressing Work of Grading Midterms

  1. ppnl says:

    You may have seen this as Tim Sandefur posted it recently:

  2. AMW says:

    Boy, you guys must start early. I’m giving the first of two mid-terms for my class next week. We’ve only been at it for 5 weeks.

  3. AMW says:

    ppnl – Wow.

    I have a friend who teaches economics at UCSC. He’s probably run into her.

  4. James Hanley says:

    Is she dumb, or is she actually suffering from a mental disorder? I suspect the latter.

    AMW, we start in early January, and our spring break normally falls in the Feb/March crossover week. The upside of our schedule is that we finish at the end of April. The downside is that we start our fall the last week of August. My last two years of undergrad and my grad school were on quarter systems that started the end of September and finished in June–I miss that because the weather in September is generally better than the weather in May.

    First of two midterms? You must be a sucker for grading. I keep contemplating going to the European system and having only a final.

  5. AMW says:

    First of two midterms? You must be a sucker for grading. I keep contemplating going to the European system and having only a final.

    I have a TA who does most of the grading for me. And I only have about 35 students this semester across both courses. So it’s no big deal.

    I used to just give one mid-term that was a take-home. But last semester some accusations were made about cheating. So now I’m doing two shorter exams in class. Believe me; grading those exams would be less work than sorting out those allegations was, even if I had twice the students and no TA.

  6. James Hanley says:

    Ah, that’s the life.

  7. ppnl says:

    I don’t see mental disorder but it seems stereotypically vacuous enough that I have some doubt that it is authentic.

  8. Believe me; grading those exams would be less work than sorting out those allegations was, even if I had twice the students and no TA.

    In my experience, it’s a lot easier to grade in-class exams, even if they’re essay exams, than it is to grade take-home exams or papers, even without allegations of cheating.

  9. James Hanley says:

    Pierre,

    I like grading take-home exams because I can require them to be typed. Half or more of the effort of in-class grading, I think, is just trying to read their writing. (And for the record, I must have put many profs through hell trying to read my handwriting.)

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