It’s better to give than to receive

image … especially when it comes to final exams. It’s much less stressful to be the teacher giver than the student recipient. But it’s not a free lunch for the teacher. I do have to grade the final exams that I give my computer science students at the community college where I teach.

Grading is not just a matter of running the exams through a scantron machine. The final exams, to be realistic, require the students to write (or more accurately complete) computer programs on their lab computer and turn in their code as electronic files. I have to run and assess their code.

Grading is quick and easy if the program is perfect or near perfect. But if not, then grading becomes more difficult. A solution that doesn’t work, but indicates that the student has some idea of what they were supposed to do, doesn’t deserve a zero. But what grade does that code deserve? That question takes time and thought. The grade also is necessarily subjective. Therefore I also need to check that my grading of other solutions which fall similarly short are at least internally consistent. Finally, responsibility is involved. A student’s future could depend on their grade. So it’s important to fair and accurate.

Of course, my students are unsympathetic. They rightly point out that I hold the keys to my own jail: I could considerably lighten my burden by giving them all A’s.

What does this have to do with the gadget theme of this blog? Not that I can use my EVO 4G to grade final exams. It’s a good device, but it’s not that good. Rather, it’s to explain why I haven’t posted a lot recently and why it may continue to be relatively quiet on the blog front for the next 10 days or so.

2 Responses to “It’s better to give than to receive”


  • My condolences

  • Thanks for the efforts, you are the best instructor in the world, and I really congratulate you in your Evo purchase, I know you are smart and that you are going to have mercy grading my final. I still dream of my code not compiling… If your code does not work in your dreams, it doesn’t work in real life 🙁
    Finally you deserve the nick name of Genghis khan in the extend of all his barbarian glory.
    To save you some work; My final works great so, you can skip it and just write an A in my grade sheet.

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