I Mark, Therefore I Am

It’s the first time I’ve given a final exam in a while. I usually mark final projects or final papers, which I’ve seen in numerous draft forms for the past month, so all I really need to do is read the student’s final reflection, after all the hard work is over. But in a large-ish literature class (large by Seton Hill standards — about 30), I gave a final exam in order to assess student familiarity with the works on the syllabus. I’ve already marked the identification questions and the short answer questions, but my brain has hit a brick wall as I mark the long essay questions.  So I hit the internet for a web surfing break, and found I solace in knowing I am not alone.

I was chatting to a business teacher who showed me a test
generating program for business. He clicks a few categories – chapters
and concepts covered, number of questions desired – and hits a button.
The multiple choice test instantly appears on his screen. He hits
print, and his test is written. He will photocopy it and give it to his
students along with a form that the students use to select their choice
of answer. He will turn in those forms to an exam office that will scan
the form and give him a print out of student marks. His time on task?
About two minutes.

I on the other hand will take two hours to write a test that is
tailored to what I taught in English, and then spend about twenty to
thirty hours marking it.  — Steve Wise

I presume Steve wrote it, since it’s in the first person and there’s a photo of a man on the page. But the blog is credited to Steve and Pam Wise.

I still have revised final papers to mark in three more classes, but since I’ve seen drafts of all those papers before, the marking should go fairly quickly.

Once more unto the breech, dear friends, once more…

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