Don’t Get Caught

Sometimes, teaching can be very frustrating. Earlier this semester, I gave an exam. Of the forty or so students who are currently enrolled in the class, barely half managed a passing score (a middling C for those that are interested). I decided to take pity on my students, and gave them the opportunity to turn in corrections for some partial credit. My hope was that my students would be motivated to go over their mistakes and learn how to solve the problems that gave them trouble so that they might do better on the final.

Of the twentyish students eligible to turn in corrections, only four bothered to make the effort. This was a bit disappointing, though I suppose that I should not be surprised. I am currently teaching a remedial course, and many of my students are hard to motivate. Still, it was disappointing.

Being the terrible human being that I am, I put off grading these four sets of corrections until today. What can I say—between my own classes, my thesis, and my daughter, I’ve been a little busy. At any rate, I am giving another exam today, so I thought it best to get those papers back to the students so that they can start studying for the final (please?).

After the first two exams, I was feeling encouraged. While neither student managed to perfect their answers, they showed remarkable improvement, and I was able to add a few points to their exam scores. Then I got to the third exam. The corrections matched my key for version A of the exam perfectly. Unfortunately, this poor student had been given version B of the exam. Oops.

The moral of the story is this: if you are going to cheat, make sure that you copy your answers from the right test.

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