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Monday, September 26, 2005 

Day 23: The devil is in the details (and in some of the answers!)

There is a lot more thought that needs to be put into designing a test than first meets the eye...

I'm preparing the second biology test - and there is so much material to include (all of the digestive system) that it becomes a real puzzle to extricate the important stuff from all the "learn by heart" stuff, combining the two such that the test is not too hard, not too easy, not too short, not too long...

And from the first tests I've had the kids write, I've also learned that essay questions are loooooooong to correct, and difficult to grade with objectivity. If a certain student is a pain in the butt in class and has a so-so answer, it is tempting to be less generous with the part marks than for a calm and participative student with an equivalent answer.

I never realized as a student that test correction could be so subjective. Of course, there are subjects like math, where 2 + 2 = 4 no matter how rowdy you are in class, but for almost all the other subjects which require answers than include words, it becomes somewhat of a challenge to remain objective and fair.

Perhaps real teachers will disagree with me - and this only reinforces what I lack in teacher training...

All I can do is try to better design my tests such that I can test the knowledge without testing my objectivity...

The expression "the devil is in the details" takes on a whole new meaning for me...

I agree - essays are too long to grade! I have been having a lot of trouble finding time to do lab notebooks - haven't quite figured that out yet. We ask 130 students to write their own purpose and conclusions, among other things, and then we have to READ them all. It's not as bad as tests, but those composition books weigh a lot more than tests do if you take your work home.

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  • I'm Lolita
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  • Challenges... don't we all love a good challenge? University, married life, a mortgage, kids, keeping my sanity while we cruise through life at 100 MPH... why not try my hand at teaching for a year. After all, a school year is only 180 days - anyone should be able to survive 180 days, right? Well, I'm about to find out - follow my journey and enjoy my trials and tribulations as I embark in this 180 day rollercoaster ride of teenage hormones and drama, spiked with discipline, homework, exams and surprises I'm sure...
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