Exams, achievement and assessing reflections

At school we have an exam week scheduled every term in week 9. This is something that every student and teacher is aware of, and it comes around quickly each term. This past week has been a rush of getting in assignments, exams being written, report comments being finalised, and marking. It is always great to see students that put in the effort achieve high marks, and it fills me with an immense satisfaction when I see the smile on their face when I hand back their results. Sometimes the marks are not necessarily high, but it was a significant improvement, and that is rewarding. This term has been a mixed bag of students achieving, improving and unfortunately failing. 


At the start of term there was a meeting with one my students parents regarding his grades, and the need to improve. He promised me he would work hard, even though all indications of his previous 10 years at school did not support this, and I really hoped that he meant it. He ended up working with a friend in an assignment, and put in a lot of good quality work, and pulled up his grades enough to be able to pass. I look forward to sharing the fantastic news with him this week. 


On the other side I have had a few seniors put in so much effort and dedication into their work this year, and they are producing amazing results. I’ve had to spend hours going through their work, not because of quantity, but quality. I also want to make absolutely sure that the marks are accurate, and not reflecting what I think they deserve for their effort, but rather what they deserve for the quality of the work.


I think this is one of those learning steps as a beginning (mature-aged) teacher needs to go through. Always making sure that all your marking is never influenced by bias, preferences, preconceived ideas, opinions, or guilt. It is essential as an educator to always remain objective, no matter how difficult it is. Students that make you mad as anything and then students that just do their work obediently, always deserve the exact same treatment with marking. I believe that I have been successful in this, but I know we always need to be mindful of how we view students and how that could affect our grading of their work every time. 

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2 Responses to Exams, achievement and assessing reflections

  1. Mary Hall says:

    Yes, I agree – up to a point… but there is also a place for the aegrotat – the “pass” I know you deserve even though your chouse caught fire the day the assignment was due and you were in hospital with broken ribs after jumping from your bedroom on the top floor… 😉 The qualitative difference between a human response and a mechanical response is important as well. This isn’t intended to detract from your main point about being objective and having sound evidence for your conclusions and assessments, rather I think it adds a layer of complexity to it.

    And congratulations on providing the environment where your ‘failing’ student was able to turn it around. =D

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