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7:52pm on Tuesday, 14th June, 2011:

Not Reading the Question


I wasn't planning on going in to the university today because, oh, let's say I had some research I could do at home instead. However, I got an email from the Departmental Administrator telling me there were some queries about my CE217 exam, so I thought I'd better respond to them. Besides, the Vice Chancellor was visiting the department school today, so that meant there would be free sandwiches for lunch (not that the VC would eat them, he's not been at the university for long enough to build up a tolerance yet).

It turned out that there were four CE217 exam scripts that the marks-checker had added up to get a different (higher) total than what I had given. It wasn't hard to see what the problem was: part A asked the candidates to do four questions from six. Some of the candidates had not read the question paper and had done all six. I'd given them the best four marks from those six. The marks-checker had also not read the question paper and had added up all six sub-totals. I could have explained that over the telephone.

Oh well, free sandwiches anyway!

Actually, one of the students had only done four questions from six but had attempted another and crossed it out. I marked the crossed-out one anyway and it scored more than one of the other questions, so I took the crossed-out one instead. Students may think we're heartless, but actually we quite like them to pass our exams. Not that this has anything to do with our having to explain a high failure rate to the examination board in writing, of course, oh no, definitely not.

Oh, and if my final-year project supervisee Tom Britton is reading this: return that hard drive you borrowed from the department school so I don't keep getting emails telling me you haven't done so.

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Copyright © 2011 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).