Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Red Ink

Yes it is time. The time hath cometh. It arriveth from on the educathional higheth. Yesterday, I graded quizzes... with a red ink pen.
The professor, that I teach for, and I have weekly meetings to discuss the happenings of class. Our conversations are not journal note-worthy. As our meeting, wherein he nonchalantly handed over a non-negligible piece of computing equipment, wound down to a close and I walked out of his office. Just on the threshold of ear-shot,  he shouted out into the hall, "Hey!" Oh man... I was thinking he wanted his cool toy back. But no... it was worse than that. He handed a small forest worth of papers, heavy and rigidly floppy as all large bundles of paper seem to be. "Here, I want you to grade these. I gave them quizzes today." Egads!!"
    I graded 69 of them, multiple choice, 10 questions, a total of 4 lab sections were graded... with a red ink pen.  I believe it is important to use a red ink pen when grading quizzes. It shows up immediately. It instills a little fear. If red is the color of violence, then it should subliminally say: "If you miss this question again, then some form of abstract violence will befall you, or near you. So next time you miss this question, don't think a horde of undead and drunken pirates won't scallywag their way into your hidden loot at home, or lop off an extra leg in the night and leave you with a peg-leg - a dirty, dirty peg-leg (note: it would help me a great deal if you would tell your children this so that when I am eventually their teacher then the whole fear of red ink markings on quizzes will be substantiated by credible sources - you, their parents)."
     The quiz grades were poor, after creating a distribution diagram in the form of a histogram (which we all know is far better than a stemplot, stupid stemplot) I realized that the median grade was 5/10 and that most of the class scored below a 5. I knew this as I was grading. Seeing low score after low score I knew the overall grades were going to be "a touch bleak" (as I explained it to the professor). I felt like that teacher in A Christmas Story. With every successive grade my rantings grew more furious, my pen strokes more cutting, the pages themselves bleeding a 20¢ Bic red over the once living testament to nature's ingenuity, now cut, mashed, pulped, stamped and pressed into a flexible paper slate upon which the wrath of the mighty red ink pen burns out injustice with 'minus one point' and 'please read both pages of a quiz.' It was a slaughter... Laying upon the battlefield of Quiz 1, were the broken corpses of quiz papers whose sole commanding officers must have been out drinking the night before, or laughing, or clearly enjoying their Life on this planet instead of studying. Fear not frail reader, should the burden of such educational shame imbue you with darkened forebodings about the future of education in America, and indeed all the world, do know that there were a few stalwart students who clearly skewed the bell curve. One student scored a perfect grade. So please, dry your eyes, our future rests in his continued studying of raster graphics.

Overall Score
Red Ink Pen - 1.
Students - 0.

Oh, and I would be remiss to not give the statistics of the grades. But it's late and I am remiss.
Sleep well.


No comments:

Post a Comment