Our semester is now 2/3 over, so we’ve still a ways to go. Last week students got an exam on the first 7 lectures, in which we covered mostly basic cognition / cognitive psychology. To be beforehand with the world (and because I want to do some quick and dirty experiment next week) I decided to get on top of the exams straight away and get them corrected. So far, my strategy consists of reading all answers to the questions, to check how students interpreted my questions. After adapting the answer key to be consistent, I start grading the exams. It’s probably a good thing that we only have about 60 students, because this might not be sustainable otherwise. I’ve managed to grade the whole thing in one day though (there were very few people around, and no meetings).

After checking the frequenties of my grades, it looks as though 50% is average or above average, so that’s quite good. At least my questions managed to discriminate between people who had no clue and people who did! Of course, my grades are only 40% of the whole exam, so it’s possible that their grades can still go up (or down) but that depends on how my co-teacher is grading. We’ll also check correlations, although last year we graded people suprisingly similarly. We see eye to eye on a lot of issues, which is a very good thing in this case.

Grading exams last year, and dealing with essays this year has left me a lot less nervous about the whole process. Partially because I’ve accepted that not everybody (i.e. students) is going to like me, and so be it. I’m not here to be liked by everybody, although it tends to make the process of teaching easier. Partially there’s also experience now, and how to deal when a student thinks their grade is unfair. I don’t know how much / many complaints there will be, but it is always interesting and enlightening to see who shows up and who doesn’t.

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