Thoughts on Teaching – 3/4/2012 – Ending another grading weekend
Another grading weekend comes to a close. I entered the weekend with the goal of grading 70 exams. I had 16 in my first half of American history online class and 54 in my second half of American history online course. I hit my goal and got all of them graded. It was a two-essay exam, so I graded 140 essays over the course of the weekend. They weren’t bad overall, with the first half essays being really good. Of course, the sad thing about them is that there are 30 people signed up for the class with only 16 of them even taking the first exam. So, I lost 14 before I even got to the first major grading assignment. The second half class was more mixed in results, but I had some really good essays out of it.
It is interesting to see how this works this semester, as this is the first time that I have done an essay-only exam. Usually there are multiple-choice as well, but I have become more and more disillusioned about multiple-choice and whether it really tests much of anything. So, this semester, I decided to cut the multiple-choice cord and jump into essay only. I am pretty pleased with the results, as I don’t see anything too different in the overall results in grades. It does highlight those who do not put in any effort more, as you could hide behind the multiple-choice before this point, whereas now if you have not prepared for the essays, you will not do well. So, I think the experiment has been a success. I’ve tried so many different ones, but this is the first time I’ve really come out of an exam and felt that the people who knew the material did well and those who did not did poorly. If a test is not supposed to test that, then I don’t know what it’s worth.
I have an even bigger experiment in my last sections of grading. My hybrid class exams were take-home exams. They were also two-essay exams, but they had a week to work on them and turned them in to turnitin.com. I’ll get my first look at them when I start grading that part tomorrow. So, I’ll report back to you on that.