JS-Kit/Echo comments for article at http://smallestminority.blogspot.com/2008/06/how-in-hell-did-i-miss-these.html (4 comments)

  Tentative mapping of comments to original article, corrections solicited.

jsid-1213067594-592830  trainer at Tue, 10 Jun 2008 03:13:14 +0000

Don'cha mean teecher?

jsid-1213073066-592839  Sarah at Tue, 10 Jun 2008 04:44:26 +0000

A test that only requires a score of 35% to pass!

You know, I've taken exams in grad school where an A+ was 23%. But that's a whooooole different thing.

jsid-1213145462-592896  workinwifdakids at Wed, 11 Jun 2008 00:51:02 +0000

"I've taken exams in grad school where an A+ was 23%."

One should not receive a grade synonymous with excellence for only having mastered 1/4 of the content, simply because everyone else failed in a more spectacular fashion.

There's a delicious irony when a physics professor devotes his life to an absolute unwavering standard of universal truth, and then grades you based on who happens to be attending the same class with you in some cosmic role of the dice.

I prefer to grade based on objective standards, like content mastery. I'm crazy like that.

Being a conservative teacher, though, has its benefits: I'm disliked by both teachers and conservatives!

jsid-1213150470-592900  DJ at Wed, 11 Jun 2008 02:14:30 +0000

Be careful to not confuse grading on a curve with grading on content.

A student can show outstanding mastery of what was taught in class without correctly answering every question on a test, provided the test includes questions on material that goes beyond what was taught. Such tests benefit an enterprising student who goes beyond what is taught in class. Of course, any letter grades associated with a numerical score ought to be carefully matched to that content.

Grading on a curve assumes that the mastery of the subject matter by the students in the class follows a Gaussian or similar distribution. With the size of a typical class, that is often a false assumption. Moveover, assuming that the distribution simply must include someone who has earned an A and someone who has earned an F is preposterous. I once took a class that was taught by a graduate teaching assistant who simply insisted that, by golly, it had to be true, in a class with only seven students. His professor knew better.

What amazes me is how few teachers are ever taught how to design, create, and administer tests of any kind. When my wife was a graduate student in clinical psychology, such training was a required part of her degree, and the training she received was an eye-opener for both of us.

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