The classic conundrum faced by university teachers.
The second class test really spread the class, with 7 A’s through to about half the class who failed (mark of <60%), although about half of that half did not actually do the test and/or have pretty poor class attendance records. This is actually better than the 1st class test
. But still, a mean on the C/D border is clearly not good. The comment wall was interestingly mixed on what this means, though most comments were negative:
“who wants to take class to ruin GPA?”
“Andrew come on. The class mean was a D. Please no more tricky ?’s or poor course reviews will occur, SC200 is not too great, considering 7+ stude”
“I was hoping this class would make me like science but it’s making me hate it even more. Fail.”
“I feel bad everyone ganging up on you, Dr. Read, but the tests are bad…”
“you are so nice, why do you have to make exams so hard, is a non science major class, and then they ask why students dislike science -_- not cool.” Mmmm. Nice but uncool. Might be fair point.
“an average that low says either a) not good instruction b) too hard for a 3 credit GN” That of course may be right, but I am also open to the idea that there is a third option, to do with study habits and thinking hard about applying concepts in novel contexts.
Curiously, almost no one made constructive suggestions about what the problem is. The closest:
“I would prefer more questions on the tests so you don’t lose so many points for each incorrect answer.” This is something I had wondered about too.
“I honestly feel like there wasn’t enough information provided to answer some of the questions. They’re somewhat ambiguous.” Like life.
And there was the other end of the spectrum
“I dont see how the test are hard for some people. He goes over everything on them.”
“slightly tricky, but much better than the first one! Lots of jumping to conclusions here…”
“i thought this test was a lot easier than the first one”
And then, strangest of all, a comment
on the main blog: “I scrutinized every little detail of the question and was killing myself to figure it out. Fortunately, I did very well on this one…but I shouldn’t be spending 3 hours trying to think like the teacher and choosing answers that are more opinionated.”
Well, I’m pretty happy with that. Think hard, figure out what I am trying to teach, and make informed choices from a range of possible opinions….
People make big life decisions based on information they get from scientific, pseudo-scientific and non-science sources. Like whether to vaccinate their kids, how much to drink and whether major changes in lifestyle are needed to deal with climate change. Not to say also forming views on aliens, homeopathy, creationism and whether my genome made me do it. I do feel like I am progressing the class towards more thoughtful engagement with the world. Key issue is figure out how to lift everyone’s game to the level of those at the top. Plenty of time yet.