Good Reason

It's okay to be wrong. It's not okay to stay wrong.

How to mark exam questions

I’m in Exam Marking Hell. It’s not that bad, really — students come up with some interesting things to say sometimes, and that’s how you know it’s a good answer.

For others in a similar plight, I thought I’d share my marking scale. Marking exam questions is easy. All you have to do is put an answer into one of five bins, and the bins all have easy-to-distinguish characteristics.
– – – – –
SPECTACULAR
This answer is so good, I want to memorise bits of it and use them in a conversation later. Brings information about the topic together, and does it in an original way. Wow.

EXCELLENT
This answer has the facts straight, and says something smart and interesting about the topic. Is full of win.

ADEQUATE
While there’s nothing wrong about this answer, it’s flat and uninspired. It goes no farther than we did in lectures, and it even uses some of the same examples. A rehash.

LACKING
This answer is incomplete, gets things wrong, or misses the point completely.

RIDICULOUS
Almost comically wrong. It’s tempting to type these answers out and email them to other professors. The student is trying to bluff you, and failing.
– – – – –
The hard part is deciding what numbers should go with each category, but that’s why they pay us the big bucks.

1 Comment

  1. When I was still at uni and my mate was a tutor (not professor admittedly) he shared his marking guide with me. Three steps:

    1. Read student's name
    2. Try to remember if the student seemed to know what they were talking about in tutorials.
    3. Read first paragraph.
    4. Give mark.

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