Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Joy of Grading Final Exams...

It is that time of year again.  The weather is gorgeous, the birds are chirping, flowers are blooming and I am stuck in my study reading what can only be called dreck.  I don't think "dreck" is a real word but I once saw an episode of M*A*S*H where Hawkeye threw a plate of terrible food across the room and said that he was tired of eating "dreck". I assumed that meant garbage, which is what I am reading.

Consider this.

One essay question on my macroeconomics final exam asked, in part, why the natural rate of unemployment is expected to rise over the next several years.

One student wrote (and for you newcomers, I never edit for grammar or spelling):

The natural rate of unemployment is expected to rise over the next several years because the economy is going down and will continue to go down.  There is no changement, no good news.  The prices are stay the same, or the price rise up again.  There is no job, and no business, or government is open new job.  All of these facts prove the natural rate of unemployment is expected to rise over the next several years.

No, this answer proves that way too many people think college is a rational option for them when in reality they would be better off learning a trade.  Our country has lied to millions of young people by telling them that everyone needs to go to college to have a good life. 

The person who wrote this scored an 18/100 on the first exam, 23/100 on the second exam and a 31 on the final exam.  Imagine what other things he/she could have been doing instead of working under the false hope that college was a good option.

Until we begin telling people the truth - that is that not all people can handle college and not all good jobs require college - we will continue to ruin  lives with debt and disappointment.


  1. That is awful to read.
    Was there also an exam you graded (or are still grading) that made you proud?
    Or at least, helped you realize you HAVE made a difference to the student who really does belong in college and who benefited from a teacher like you?

  2. Sounds like this person has a "never quit" attitude.

    This is off-topic a little, but I believe it is relevant to today.

    How can advocates of Government stimulus programs be against tax cuts?

    Stimulus programs "inject" money into the economy by taking from some.

    Tax cuts "inject" money into the economy by deciding to take less from some.

    Stimulus programs accumulate debt, but they do it anyway to "stimulate" the economy.

    Tax cuts arguably accumulate debt, but they do it anyway to stimulate the economy.

    They seem pretty similar to me, just one doesn't sacrifice the American value of personal freedom.

    Mr Obama tells us to "return to American values of fairness for all, and responsibility from all."

    Those sure as hell aren't the only American values.

    Mr. Obama and I agree "responsibility" is one, but we differ on our interpretation of the word.

    Just my thoughts while I am studying for your final exam.

  3. Nordic Guy,

    I actually had one of my online students earn a 100 on her final exam. She earned a 100 on her midterm exam too. This was the first time in 21 years I have had this happen. It was very nice to see such an epic performance. However, for every one of her I have scores of the other.

  4. Please tell me that the student who wrote this is not from the US and that English is not their first language? Please, just tell me that.

  5. I wish. My Americans are the worst.