Saturday, February 13, 2010

Continuing Adventures in Grading

Graduate student TAs are the harshest graders ever. No matter how clear my directions, the TAs will find something I didn't mention and take points off for it. So I'm facing a situation with the grading of my calculus exam. Some students lost as many as four points (out of 100) because of ruthless grading.

The question was of the form: Find f '(x) and each of the parts was like: (a) f(x) = x2

If a student answered 2x, the TA gave four points out of five. The TA would only give full credit for f '(x) = 2x. OK, I can see taking off one point the first time the mistake was made (I wouldn't take off the point, but I can see why someone would), but I can't really justify taking off one point every time the student didn't put f '(x) = . This TA is not inexperienced. This TA is getting pretty darn close to being a full-fledged faculty member.

There is no way to regrade 250 exams in a reasonable way. I'm thinking that I will make some sort of announcement in class on Monday that the exams were all graded consistently and that everyone who made the same mistake lost exactly the same number of points, so we will not be revisiting any desicions about partial credit. I may also make some sort of general comment about how if I need to add a fudge factor at the end of the semester to make the grades work out right, then I'll do that -- based on what the scores look like at the end of the semester.