Tuesday, March 1, 2011

This One Was My Fault

I had a student scheduled to take a make-up exam this morning. She showed up on time, I set her up in this little side room we have for students to take rescheduled exams in, and she took the exam. She finished pretty quickly, and I graded it as soon as she left. She did terrible. Like, F-minus. Really bad.

I go to record the grade in my gradebook when I realize that she was there for an intro phil exam and I had given her the intro ethics test. (I have another make-up exam scheduled this afternoon.) I gave her the wrong exam, and that's why she flunked. My bad. In my defense, I am responsible for nearly 200 students and I am barely capable of being organized.

So, obviously, I emailed her right away and apologized profusely, and asked when she could schedule a make-up for the make-up. Then I apologized some more.

But what I don't get is, why didn't she say anything? I mean, none of the questions would have looked the least bit familiar. There is literally no connection between the material on the test in front of her and the subject matter of her class, apart from some logic stuff that goes into every lower-division class I teach. Maybe she figured that I know what I'm doing, and so it must be her fault if she didn't recognize anything. Shows what she knows.

And the really weird thing is, she got some stuff right. Like, really right. Although the exam was a disaster overall, she was able to state some theories and arguments very clearly, just like they are on the handout. Eerie. So much so I triple-checked the gradebook against the name and student ID on the exam.

It's all very weird. And it's all my fault. Shit.

--Mr. Zero

14 comments:

Xenophon said...

Do you have access to her transcript? Maybe she took the ethics course with someone else in the department.

Anonymous said...

I once receivede a call from a mother of a student inquiring about a final grade--an F. I knew the student and told her that that waas impossible--and my spreadsheet confirmed that she had received an A. Turns out that when entering the grade I accidentally slipped one box down in the on-line gradesheet and assigned the F to my A student that was meant for the person above. (I duplicated the F in other words.) The student just assumed that she had utterly bombed the final and deserved the F. I apologized quite profusely and complimented the Mom for believeing in her daughter.

And now I triple-check my entries for the final grade.

Anonymous said...

Oh no!!!! Poor kid, she must feel awful. I wonder if you should reward her for getting some stuff right on the wrong exam when you grade her makeup makeup?

At the end of the day, though, you made an honest mistake. Don't let yourself feel too bad.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:12--FERPA.

Anonymous said...

Most kids waive FERPA these days, at least at my institution...

Anonymous said...

Great example of how a perception of a power differential between student and teacher can silence the student. Admittedly, we don't know if this is the case, but I've been in my share of courses where you quickly learn to never, ever, ever question the teacher...even if they are demonstratively and irrefutably incorrect. I would guess that for any student there are only so many experiences of this until they learn to just shut-up and not question anything in school.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you're a pretty tough grader, or maybe my kids are just pathetic. If a student managaged to adequately explain a few theories on an in-class test, there is no way it gets an F-.

Anonymous said...

Responsible for 200 kids? Yeah, don't beat yourself up.

Anonymous said...

In other news, will there be any more non-4/4 jobs or should I start to look for alternative employment now?

BunnyHugger said...

Anon 1:55: There might be some 5/5 or 5/5/1 jobs at community colleges. Hope this helps!

(I teach 4/4 and if I could have a tenure-track version of this job I'd be pleased as punch.)

Anonymous said...

Happened to me once too - with exactly the same courses! The student who took the wrong exam simply had no idea what the correct course was all about (he missed a lot of classes, didn't read the textbooks, and missed the exam on top of it).

When I gave him the "correct" exam, he scored a bit LOWER than on the "wrong" one! A well deserved "F" no matter what...

Anonymous said...

Given my three preps, I've worried about giving the wrong lecture. I've avoided it so far, but I'm sure it has been done. I do recall that a prof in grad school gave the same intro lecture twice.

zombie said...

Anon 1:55 -- a lot of adjunct jobs are 2/2 or 1/1.

Anonymous said...

I did the same thing earlier this semester. But fortunately the student realized the mistake (they were there to take a logic test and I gave them an ethics test).

Word verification (this couldn't be more apropos): reelonu

"This one was all my fault."
Response: "True dat. It's ReelOnU this time."