Saturday, March 17, 2007

In one of my large first year classes this term, for the first time I am using all the STUFFs that come with the textbook. The powerpoint slides, the "learning resources", the lecture notes, the images, the test bank. I never really liked these things, the test banks in particular. How can you test what students know about sociology using multiple choice questions? Fill in the blanks? True or false?

Anyhow, this term I said to myself, sod it. I don't really want to mark another mid-term of 2xx essays. Everyone else uses test banks so why not me?

So that's what I did. I gave them 60 multiple choice questions and one short essay (that's 117 essays to mark, better than 234! I said to myself). After the test I posted answers to the test, as given by the test bank. Put the MC answer sheets through the machine. All is well.

And what happened next? Two hours after the answers were uploaded onto WebCT, emails from students started swarming my inbox, asking why the answer to question no. 25 is A when it clearly should be B? And what is the difference between C and D when they both mean the same thing, according to my electronic dictionary? How about question no. 52, textbook p. 241 paragrah 3 line 5 clealy stats that the answer should be C not A. Can you explain please? etc.

There is a Cantonese saying for this. According to this saying, I caught a worm and stuffed it up my own arse. Not a smart move.

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