Saturday, March 1, 2008

Trying to get motivated

Thank you everyone for the well wishes on my French exam last week. The good news is that I tied for the highest mark in the class...bad news is it was only 25/30. On a positive note, 3/5 of my mistakes were silly ones - I knew the grammar rule but, either congregated the verb wrong or made a silly mistake.

I have class in 2 hours and I cannot get motivated to go...let alone work on my second oral presentation.

The professor announced last week that he was changing the marking scheme for the course. (Is that allowed? mid-course?)

The handout on the first day of classes allocated marks in this way:
  • Attendance for 10%
  • Participation in class 5%
  • Reading and Writing Assignments 5%
  • Quizzes 2 @ 5% for 10%
  • Midterm exam -15% written and 15% oral for 30%
  • Final exam - 20% written and 20% oral for 40%

Now, he has indicated that the marks will be given out as follows:

  • Participation - 10%
  • Presentation #1 -10%
  • Presentation #2 - 10%
  • Midterm exam (written only) 30%
  • Final exam (written only) 40%

OK...technically, it means less work since there are no quizzes and no oral exams to get nervous about. I guess I should be happy about that given the fact that I am now working my crazy hours and this means less stress. But I am not.

OK...technically, I rocked my first presentation. I worked very hard on it. Everyone commented on how well it went. I felt really good about it. There was talk that the professor may make presentations the oral marks. Cool. I could live with that...I was expecting a very good mark. How fabulous that the oral part of the midterm is being replaced by the presentation.

Well...here comes the bomb shell...everyone is getting 10/10 for each presentation!

No matter how well prepared you were...no matter how well you presented...no matter how many pronunciation mistakes you made...no matter how many grammar rules you broke...no matter how much you attempted to integrate the course material into your project....no matter how at ease you were presenting...no matter how short, or how long your presentation was...no matter what, everyone got 10/10.

OK...that is great for the students who are struggling. And who knows, perhaps that could have been me. And hey, why I am I upset that everyone is getting a great mark? Let me lay out my arguments:

  1. Not all the presentations that were done DESERVE a perfect mark. Bottom line argument. A few of the students are really struggling with the oral part of this course. They should receive a mark appropriate for this course. About 3 of the presentations were very well done, they should be compensated for their hard work and success.
  2. The professor indicated that it is difficult for him to grade a presentation since it is only out of 10. His argument is that if her were to designate 2 marks for grammar, and we made a couple of mistakes and then made a couple of pronunciation mistakes then we would all get 0...ummm.....no....you base the mark on what we should be able to do at this level and how well we do that. Simple solution - grade out of 100 and then divide by 10. Or just grade the presentations like figure skating - some technical marks some presentation marks and some overall marks.
  3. Most of the students are taking this course in hopes of getting or advancing their career in the Canadian federal government. Bilingualism will open many doors for you in the government. To prove your competency in your second language you take written, comprehension and oral exams. You are graded for each. Pay bonuses and whole new job opportunities can open up to you if you are declared to be competent in the second language. Therefore, if we will be ultimately taking these exams, then we should be prepared. An oral presentation in a classroom is less stressful than the oral exam in the government test...so, mark us, critique us, allow us to really understand where we stand - in reference to the class population and also in terms of obtaining our government classifications.
  4. A teacher needs to teach, correct and grade...that is his job. He should really understand the expected level of skill needed to pass a course and then grade his students in achieving or exceeding, or sadly, missing that expected level of skill. I personally believe that the professor in this course is very capable of doing this and I believe he is a veteran professor. I think the problem in this class is that there are a few people struggling and a few people who should really be in lower level classes until they get the basics. But with the mis-match of skill in the class, the professor feels that giving everyone 10/10 is a good thing.
  5. Last August I took the placement test and got placed in the Intermediate 1 class. I found it challenging and studied lots. I was very proud of my A in the class. So, when I signed up for Intermediate 2, I figured it would be the next level up...many of the students in this class would not have succeeded in the Intermediate 1 class I took. There has been a breakdown in the course and program structure. This means that the professor needs to be even more diligent in grading appropriately so that the administrators and placement testers realize if they are correctly placing students.
  6. I paid good money for this course - almost $500.00. I want to get my money out of the course. I am paying for a professor to teach...and to grade...and to help me realize my language goals.
  7. Some people excel in written, some in the oral part. As a student, I would like a fair mark in both aspects reflecting my ability in both. The new marking scheme really only grades you on your written...and I am not a good "test taker".
  8. I am not expecting 10/10 - that is perfect...while I feel my presentation went very well, I know it was not perfect. I want to know where I stand. I want to know that when I continue to the next level I have mastered what is expected of me in this current course. how can I when I am graded perfect and also given the exact grade as everyone else in the class.

Ok...enough...can you believe I am complaining on getting a perfect mark??? Silly me!

But here lies another challenge. I have to do another presentation. I am trying to work on it now. But, because my life is so busy, and the fact that I know I am getting another 10/10, I am lacking in focus, drive and desire to do a GREAT job. I am struggling to get motivated.

I know, that is a bad attitude. But, I cannot help it. I want to be graded - grades help you realize how far you have come, how much you have learned, and how far you still have to go.

This is just my opinion. Maybe I am wrong. But, I was very upset when I heard about the marking scheme change and even more upset that fair marking would not be taking place.

Well, there is a very good chance the professor, or one of my fellow students may read this...I gave out my blog address during my last oral presentation!!!!

Oh well...J'ai le droit d'avoir une opinion!

3 comments:

Kathryn said...

I don't like that idea of everyone getting a 10/10 either. That is silly. Why even get graded then? I can see why you aren't motivated now.
Good luck, anyway!

Karen C. said...

Ug. I can see how that would be sooooo frustrating!! And yeah...why even do it at all if you're going to get 10/10???? Crazy. Oh well...hang in there!!

Barrie said...

I don't really get the every-gets-perfect-on-an-assignment thing either. But, I do think it's great you tied for 1st on your first test!!