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Professors and grading! - March 11th 2014, 03:18 AM

Hi everyone! I have a question about how college professors usually grade their tests and assignments. I have a professor this quarter who never really tells us what he wants. He'll give us a prompt, for example "compare and contrast these two art styles", and then he just says "write me an essay". There are no length requirements, which arguably is a very good thing, people can be creative with how they write their essay and express their points in however many words they need. However when he doesn't hand back our assignments or give any feed back on what we should do better I get kind of annoyed. I'd like to know how to improve my grade, and since the prompts are skimpy I have no idea where I went wrong, did I mess up the format? Did I misinterpret the prompt? Was my answer lacking in detail? Another problem that attributes to this is that he takes forever to start grading our assignments, its the last week of the quarter and I finally know what my grade was on a test and essay we did weeks ago.

Not only does he not provide feedback but he takes the best essay in class and then begins to grade down from there. To me this is weird, I thought that professors usually had some standards that the class is graded to. I guess this doesn't matter that much? Since as long as you work hard you should be able to do as well as anyone. I was annoyed for a while because I thought there was a guy in the class who already had his masters, and as a second year student I wasn't sure how I was supposed to compete with that, however it turns out he only has a bachelors. Regardless, the real world demands that we compete against those of all levels of experience so I suppose I can just think of this as a good way of learning how to push myself in situations that make me compete with those who are more experienced then I.

I suppose I am just frustrated and stressed. I've never had a professor like this before and I guess I just have to rely on myself when it comes in improving, which is a valuable skill to have anyway.

If any of you have advice or anything you'd like to share I'd be more then happy to hear.


"If you touch a spider web anywhere, you set the whole thing trembling. . . . As we move around this world and as we act with kindness, perhaps, or with indifference, or with hostility toward the people we meet, we too are setting the great spider web a-tremble. The life that I touch for good or ill will touch another life, and that in turn another, until who knows where the trembling stops or in what far place and time my touch will be felt. Our lives are linked. No person is an island."
   
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Re: Professors and grading! - March 11th 2014, 11:36 AM

That sounds a little bit concerning Caite. Basically, what should be happening is you should be given criteria at the start, and everyone is marked based on that. Some people still use a bell curve method, or various other methods - which basically are crap.

No feedback is also an issue.

I would suggest looking at your university policies on assessment, feedback, etc. Maybe talk to a student advisor? You can also approach your professor and ask for feedback and guidance.

It is a useful skill to be able to work independently, but this sounds a bit too vague for my liking.


Feel free to email/PM/VM/whatever me if you want. I'll answer as soon as I can.

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Re: Professors and grading! - March 11th 2014, 02:17 PM

I've had classes where we didn't get much feedback, however our professors are all required to have a certain number of office hours a week. So what people usually do is go to the office hours and specifically ask what they did wrong and how they can improve. If your professor is still unhelpful after talking to him, I agree that you should possibly take it up with someone else.



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Re: Professors and grading! - March 11th 2014, 10:59 PM

I've had classes where we didn't get a lot of feedback but marking down from the best essay sounds worrying. That's what the numerical scale you use at your school is for.

I recommend asking this professor about it, go to their office hours or talk to them after class. Ask them how you can improve your work and what standards they tend to have. Sometimes there isn't much time in class to be specific and go over each person's work. If your professor refuses to tell you about it at all even in office hours and such then I'd definitely recommend talking to your representative about it.


   
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Re: Professors and grading! - March 15th 2014, 12:46 AM

He says he does it because since he has a masters in the field that everyone's looks like crap to him since he knows everything, and that the only way for him to know is by grading down from the best. I think this is complete bs, I'm guessing he is super disorganized and doesn't know which classes he teaches what information thus he needs to rely on the students work to tell him what he has taught. I'm mad. I had a teacher like this is high school and it was utterly terrible. She never taught us any grammar because she "hated it and is bad at it". She also spent most of class period talking about her love life. Thankfully this professor isn't that bad.


"If you touch a spider web anywhere, you set the whole thing trembling. . . . As we move around this world and as we act with kindness, perhaps, or with indifference, or with hostility toward the people we meet, we too are setting the great spider web a-tremble. The life that I touch for good or ill will touch another life, and that in turn another, until who knows where the trembling stops or in what far place and time my touch will be felt. Our lives are linked. No person is an island."
   
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Re: Professors and grading! - March 15th 2014, 01:54 PM

If you've spoken to proff and still not happy - I'd suggest talking to someone in the faculty office. That does sound like... crap.


Feel free to email/PM/VM/whatever me if you want. I'll answer as soon as I can.

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