Sunday, December 14, 2008

Grades are Done!

Time to celebrate the end of the semester! (See end of blog for one reason.)

A hat tip to Rachel for this video,

not to mention for her inspired way of dealing with a cheater during her chem final, because ... trust me, the instructors would much prefer that the student freak out and fail the exam on her own than have to push through the paperwork in a vain hope that a committee will back them up on the charge of academic dishonesty. There are many places where each Snowflake is held to be precious in its own way.

By the way, I might not be the most eagle-eyed of proctors I have worked with, but furtive looks and (in particular) reaching for ANYTHING anywhere gets my immediate attention. Sounds to me like the proctors did a rather poor job of keeping out of view (watching from a back corner is spectacularly effective) and/or bracketing the room. I always make sure I have an observation point that is close to where the kids like to hide in the back of a room and spend a lot of time there. Much better to be standing still than moving slowly around, particularly if there is a second person who can be moving around.

As for Dr. Pion's semester:

On a more positive note, it looks like EVERY student who went into the final exam with a plausible grade has managed to pass my classes. The exceptions had exam averages around 50% at midterm and way too much optimism about either (A) their chance of improving their performance or (B) the effect of messages about how important this class is to getting into their career of choice.

Sorry, but if some college thinks passing my class is important for a particular major, all the more reason to hold you to a standard where outliers get the failing grade they earned.

Additional time wasting material:

Oh, yes, and if that video is not enough, we have

Nothing says the end of the semester like people applauding a cat playing a piano. Particularly when someone is taking piano lessons on the other piano ... Ah, the miracle of YouTube. These four videos have over 10 million, 4 million, 11 million, and 3 million views, respectively.

Eleven million views of a cat playing a piano? Wonder where Van Cliburn would rank. Answer: none much over 200 thousand views. Sigh.

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