The first class test happened yesterday. After last year’s fiasco, I spent an inordinate amount of time checking the computer settings for the test, and it all went remarkably smoothly. Just a couple of people with self-inflicted computer problems, and getting those bugs out of their systems is one of the reasons I have a test early, and then only take the top two grades of the four class tests.

The actual results were disappointing in terms of student performance, but in line with the ‘wake-up-call’ results of first class tests in previous years (e.g. 2014). This is a timely reminder for me and more importantly a strong message to many of the students: SC200 not a cake-walk. We all need to focus and up our games.

The **average score** was **75% (C+)** for those who did the test, and we had 10 **no shows**. Three students got 26/28 questions, and five more got 25/28, so a total of eight got 100% on my ask 28-questions-grade-out-of-25 algorithm. In total, there were 20 **A**‘s, 13** A-**, 36 **B+**, 43 **B**, 40 **B-**, 54 **C+**, 39 **C**, 59 **D**‘s and 42 **fails**, a distribution which looks like this:

That’s remarkably similar to the distribution this time last year. For the faint of heart (which includes me), that distribution moves substantially to the left by the time we get final grades.

The good news? There were some really great efforts (the 8 students who got 100%, and a lot of very good ones [152 with a B or better, almost half the class]). No individual questions where disasterously handled, apart from one on wormy kids and one on smoking. Both of those questions seem to me to point to students barely paying attention in class, but I guess to the students they point to me explaining things poorly – I’ll go over those again in class today. The critical assessment of the media report was pretty well handled on average, and since critical thinking is the aim of my game, that’s good news.

But obviously the bad news is the 101 students who did poorly (which I take to be a D or less); that’s almost a third of the class. For many of those students, this will be the worse grade they have ever got. Those students need to work with me now. What are they not understanding? I can help if I know what the problem is. Otherwise, I am left guessing. So its time to implore the students to take control of their own learning. Revise the test (its there, with right/wrong, on Angel). If you don’t understand the answer, ask. **Ask, ask, ask**. I am going to do everything I can to get students over the bar – except lower it.