05 May, 2006

Marking madness

My (very) small band of semi-regular browsers might have noticed a slight drop in posting frequency over the last couple of weeks. This has not only been due to the first inklings of semi-nice weather drawing me away from the keyboard (although they haven't helped); I'm also completely snowed under marking undergraduate mapping projects. This is a rather time-consuming affair: each one consists of field slips, notebooks, an interpretative map and a report, which you have to constantly cross-refer between to check the interplay between observations and interpretations (is a strange interpretation due to a mistaken observation, or just poor extrapolation from sparse data?). I've never had to mark this sort of thing before, so am finding it even more slow going. In fact, I've been more than a little perturbed about the lack of guidance I've got - these things were effectively dumped on my desk and I was told, "Go mark". Given that these projects form a sizeable percentage of the students' final year mark, it's important to get them right, and I worry that my inexperience may cause difficulties (it's also yet another example of me being given responsiblities seemingly far beyond those you'd expect for my present position or salary, but that's actually a minor irk in this case, as I can see the experience will improve my teaching). I was reassured by the fact that they were being double-marked, and that the students would also have a viva, or oral exam, to help assess their performance.

Yes, I was reassured - until I found out yesterday who is doing the vivas.



I'm not sure what's more scary: the thought that the department trusts me with such things, or the thought that it's more because they can't get anyone else to do them.

No comments: