February 15, 2005

Test Bingo

This post from Tall, Dark and Mysterious about how to make maths test marking more bearable is hilarious. That list far outstrips what we get with computing-flavoured marking. Some of them, though, look a bit familiar:

Test grade in single digits
Yes, alas. Computing students are up for this too.
Sentence in word problem solution that doesn't even make sense syntactically.
When they have to write, our computing students seem to manage a high proportion of sentences that don't make sense. Usually in an effort to be fair and nice to students for whom English is not their first language, we try and see whether we can extract any meaning from it anyway.
Bubbly girlish handwriting pleading "Please be nice!"
Check! I seem to average about one "Please pass me" per batch of scripts.
Space below question contains nothing but a massive question mark.
...or is blank entirely.

I could add:

  • Student writes program code that is complete nonsense, not even close to compiling.
  • As part of the answer, student writes out the entire question again, as if somehow the markers didn't have copies of the question paper to hand.
  • Student is asked to define two terms with opposite meanings, and gets them the wrong way round.
  • Student is asked to define two terms with opposite meanings, gets the answer lecture-notes-perfect, and then when asked to give an illustration of each, gets them the wrong way round.

The further we can manage to go in the direction of automated marking by computer, without the marking quality suffering, the happier I will be.


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