Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Time Marches On

Is it possible that the semester is almost half over already? I guess it is since spring break is upon me. Next week I am class free, although the school work is still here. On the bright side, I do not have to drive to Providence for school at all next week. :)

I met with my professor yesterday to discuss my exam debacle (222's grade of 78 - bleck). Before I tell you what we talked about let me give you some stats for this exam. All you mathematicians out there feel free to calculate away. . . The range for the exam was 64 - 90 (a rather tight bell curve if you know statistics) with an average grade of 74.5. In addition, 11 questions from a 50 question exam were "thrown out" because 70% or more of the class chose an answer other than the correct answer. If you ask me, something is fishy when 1/5, 20% of an exam has to be thrown out because 70+% got those questions wrong. If an exam is prepared properly and appropriately, no questions should have to be thrown out --- just sayin'. . . Last Friday discussion of the exam was opened during class which turned into, well let's just say, a heated discussion. . . In the chaotic process of this "discussion" an additional three questions were thrown out based on them being "poorly worded" questions. In my opinion, the entire exam was "poorly worded" but because we only had time to discuss THREE questions (due to the chaos) those were the only 3 questions that were thrown out. 3 for 3 -- I'm no mathematician but that just doesn't seem right. So in the end, FOURTEEN out of 50 questions were thrown out for varying reasons. If I grab my calculator I can tell you that is 28% of the exam. In all of my experience with exams and professors this has never happened. Almost 30% of an exam is "bad" and that is acceptable?? WOW! To be fair, this professor has been handed a book that comes complete with a fully prepared, by the publisher, power point presentation and a test bank of questions that accompany the text. She is simply a robot who operates within the confines of what the publisher has provided. She is a very nice woman who totally understands where I am coming from and genuinely wants me to do well but GEEEZZZ!

So I meet with the professor, 32 page study guide in hand. . . We sit down and talk and her response to me is "The study guide you have prepared is graduate level work. Unfortunately, this course is written for [immature] undergraduate students who still involve themselves with the black and white of the book, and memorize term for term the information that it holds." Um, OK. So I respond, "So you are telling me that I am too smart for this class?" In no uncertain terms she told me yes. Yes, I am too smart for this class. Everything that I have learned about generalizing concepts and putting them into my own words to gain a fundamental understanding no longer applies to this class. Her advice to me was to memorize all terms and concepts WORD FOR WORD from the book. What? That is what the woman said. So that is what I shall do. My fear at this point is that I have to make a choice. I can do what she said, get a grade I can be happy with and walk away carrying very minimal knowledge OR I can continue to learn the way I learn best which will cause me to get a poor grade in the class but I will walk away with a fundamental understanding of the information. This is a difficult decision for me; one I don't really think I should have to make. Now, I am not a whiner or a complainer when it comes to these matters so I am at a loss as to what further action could possibly be taken to voice my disdain with this situation. My frustration level is HIGH!

For now, I have decided to take her advice and have been diligently memorizing page after page of terms and concepts so that I can do well on the next exam. I suppose time will tell whether it is worth my while or not.

1 comment:

  1. WHAT? Does the professor not grade her own tests? If you're answers are correct.....wow. I had a bio teacher once tell me-after receiving a crappy grade and studying my behind off and working with a study group- sometimes students just don't get the test! WTH?! If the less than perfect grade won't be a problem with getting into another class etc then I say "learn" the info...that's what the class should be for!