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Grading freshman lab reports=hilarious

  1. Sep 21, 2005 #1
    So I am a TA for the Frosh Gen chem lab and I just got back their 1st lab reports to grade. Oh man I haven't laughed so hard in a while. I have seen a ton of reports w/ data points and when they graphed it they simply connected the dots instead of fitting a best fit linear line :rofl: . I also have a ton of reports w/ axes mixed up :rofl: , no conclusions or calculations :rofl: , papers w/ no name :rofl: , wrong papers handed in :rofl: . OH man you freshman are HILARIOUS! Maybe -20 pts off will teach you :devil: . LOL i will be lenient this time.
     
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  3. Sep 21, 2005 #2

    Pengwuino

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    Destroy them! Burn their papers infront of them!

    I remember some of the freshmen in my chem class connecting the dots and i'm just like "..... pathetic".
     
  4. Sep 21, 2005 #3

    Moonbear

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    Well, I guess it's better that you're laughing rather than crying. I was horrified the first time I had to grade lab reports and sat there staring at 30 lab reports, of which only 2 had proper grammar (one person didn't even manage to spell her own name right...she spelled it differently on every assignment she handed in :confused:). The TAs were required to write at least one positive comment on every lab report, and some were joking that the best they could think of on some was "at least you spelled your name right" and I had to tell them I had one that I couldn't even write that on! We had some very simple instructions to follow that would have gotten them quite a few points just for following instructions, not even thinking, and many didn't even do that (like writing the name of the species studied in the title...it was a "give me" two points instruction). Oh, then again, the way the course director had set the grading scheme, it was actually possible to give a student negative points. They didn't like it very much when told the big fat 0 was being generous. :rolleyes: Fortunately there weren't too many of those, but I had one section one year that had a group of 4 students who seemed to be competing for the lowest score...lab reports that bad are just plain painful to grade; they should have just saved their tuition money for buying beer since those 4 must have been spending all their time partying anyway.

    A word of warning...no matter how lenient you think you're being, they'll still complain you deducted too many points. Don't take it personally. Make a list of the funniest conclusions or methods, etc., and share it with the other TAs...it'll keep you from crying.

    Oh, and how many, "The printer jammed as I was printing it just before class," or "The computer ate it" type excuses did you get?
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2005
  5. Sep 21, 2005 #4

    ranger

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    You guys should not make fun of them like that. If a majority of the class made that mistake in graph plotting, you as the teacher should try to correct them instead of making fun of them and "burning the papers".
    My views are probably different since I'm a student and dont know what you guys go through in grading.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2005
  6. Sep 21, 2005 #5

    ::Sigh:: I have almost 100 of these things to grade.



    Its one of things you aren't supposed to laugh at but it is funny as hell.
     
  7. Sep 21, 2005 #6

    Moonbear

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    It would depend on how many times they were told to plot a best fit line rather than connecting the dots. If it was only said once or someone assumed they should know this, then I agree, it is best to correct this mistake and let them know what they need to do next time. On the other hand, if they are told 20 times and have written instructions that say the same thing, and still didn't follow the directions, sometimes you need to shock them into paying attention. If you're a good student and know how to follow directions, you'd be truly appalled to see how many students don't. Their high school teachers did them no favors by being lenient about those sorts of things.
     
  8. Sep 21, 2005 #7
    nonono, they have every right to laugh. I'm gr 12 and we have been expected to produce lab reports properly since gr 10. I don't think there is much of an excuse for a university student to not know how to spell their own name or to not know to show sample calculations or not know that the x axis is the horizontal one!!! :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:
     
  9. Sep 21, 2005 #8

    Moonbear

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    I truly feel for you. Try to keep in mind that many of these students had no proper lab courses in high school, so have little to no experience writing lab reports. Oh, and they don't think that "See me during office hours so we can discuss how to improve your grade," is a positive comment. :biggrin:
     
  10. Sep 21, 2005 #9
    Did you see them turn each point into a bar as though it was supposed to be a bar graph?

    As a professor, I find the reports less hilarious and more of an aching headache, especially when the students tell me it's my fault for not teaching them the difference between a best fit line and a bar graph. You know, the sort of thing they teach around, oh, grades 3 - 5.

    The sad part is when they seem to correct the behavior and then the wrong behavior reappears on the final.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2005
  11. Sep 21, 2005 #10
    Do you have classmates that complain that it's all the teacher's fault?

    That's what we go through. Students who aren't taking ownership of their education. I can't force someone to learn something if they aren't interested in working. I don't care if they don't want to learn, but don't blame *me* for it.

    These complaints of mine correspond to the lower third of the class. The upper third takes ownership and learns the material. The middle third works hard and sort of gets it. It's the ones that think that there is some magical way that they will learn the subject matter without any effort, and then blame the teachers and the school when it doesn't happen, that I could do without.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2005
  12. Sep 21, 2005 #11
    If I had been doing this stuff for years I probably wouldn't find it funny anymore, but this is my first time every grading anything.
     
  13. Sep 21, 2005 #12

    Pengwuino

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    Hell I'm a student too :D. And lab instructors aren't suppose to teach them... and they should have known this stuff a looooooooooong time ago.
     
  14. Sep 21, 2005 #13
    Come on! Basic graphing skills. It should be assumed everyone knows how to graph, and if they can't, well they better get some help from the teacher or friends. I mean, in my Biology class almost everyone knows how to graph perfectly well and I am in highschool. The fact that the class is an AP class is totally irrelevant :uhh:
     
  15. Sep 21, 2005 #14

    Moonbear

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    :rofl: Oh, and there's always one in a class who decides they will make their report "fancy" by using some weird font printed in purple and plays with all the chart options in excel and for some incomprehensible reason, settles on a pie chart.
     
  16. Sep 21, 2005 #15
    Oh man, my freshmen aren't that bad.
     
  17. Sep 21, 2005 #16

    ranger

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    When you guys are saying graphing, I'm think about using a program such as MS excel or mathCAD. Not the usual graph paper and pencil. I'll admit that I could not graph using excel until I entered college. I could not even use excel. There was no need of me to. Becuase in high school we used graph paper. But thats just me I guess.
     
  18. Sep 21, 2005 #17

    Moonbear

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    I think it's a bit worse in Freshman biology classes. We get a lot of the "my parents said I should be pre-med, so I'm stuck taking this class" students. We also had about 600 students in the course, so you're bound to land a few prize winners with that many (I was head TA for a year, so got to review all the other TAs grading...I asked them to give me their lab reports ranked high to low, so I could quickly scan the range of their grades to make sure they were being consistent, so I got to see the worst of the worst...and the best of the best...don't forget about them...there are the few who will just knock your socks off that they can do so well as a freshman). My favorite students though, have always been the ones who start out mediocre and put in real effort, show up at office hours every week, and suddenly you watch that light bulb turn on in their head as everything starts to click for them...they're the ones that will keep you coming back to teach year after year, because they're the ones who you know really needed you to guide them through the course and truly learned something they didn't know before they started.
     
  19. Sep 21, 2005 #18
    when i retook grade 12 the english teacher i had was one of the ppl in charge of one of the groups of people (other teachers, english students, etc) who graded the provincial english exams. whenever someone came across a paper that criticised the BC education system it was read out loud to the room & everyone would laugh & laugh. that's what he said anyway.
     
  20. Sep 22, 2005 #19

    ek

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    I've heard stories about teachers laughing at kids while marking the provincials as well. Because the exams get marked more than once they just sit as a group and mark them while in the same room. So when one teacher comes across a funny mistake or whatever he says to the others "WOW, check out this moron", or something like that. I've heard this sort of tale from more than one teacher who has marked provincials in the past.
     
  21. Sep 22, 2005 #20

    Bystander

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    Non-majors? Keep in mind that 99/100 of these people have never had a lab course before this, and will never again take another. These are the people who elect the Proxmires to congress, and who may become Proxmires themselves, teachers to muff the education of coming generations, managers in control of your research budget, and you're going to laugh at them, make a big joke of the PR job you're doing for the sciences and science funding?

    You're in charge of the first, last, and only chance to reach the general public about the sciences. Don't get too cute with it --- the laughter is going to be entirely at your expense.
     
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