The Screwup

Hi, and welcome to screwup week! Well, that's what it seems like.

First, I was late to a class this week. That's bad enough. But now I've discovered I've screwed something else up: the marking of some labs.

My teaching assistant and an assistant marker accurately followed my marking guide for a recent lab--but it was, er, wrong. So students were penalized for giving the completely correct answer. (I suppose students with the completely wrong answer received a mark that they didn't deserve, although looking at the marks, the average for this lab was almost one full point lower than usual. Duh!)

Worse, it took a group of very sharp students to notice this error and let me know about it. (To be fair, at least my marker noticed the problem, but forgot to tell me.) But wait--it gets worse.

I didn't write this particular question; it (and the standard answer in the marking guide) were provided to me by the creator of the online lab system. I accepted the answer without question, without thinking. I blab on and on about the importance of critical thinking--and then I go and make a screwup like this. Argh.

As penance, I re-marked the few dozen labs that hadn't been picked up by students yet. But I asked my marker to do the rest. (I'm not lazy, I'm up to my ears in marking essay exams which take first priority..and take a lot of time.)

So, what have I learned from all this? 1) Students are smarter than a lot of people give them credit for. I think they've learned the lessons of critical thinking better than I have...which brings me to: 2) I'm not as smart as I like to think I am--but I'm learning...

Why aren't you studying?


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