- 15 mo after school 1972 ;
- a year after the BA 1977;
- 6 mo after my PhD 1982 ;
- a year after six years teaching in U.Newcastle 1989: walked Portuguese Coast;
- 6 mo to do Santiago etc. in 2004;
- my cash-poor time-rich one-day-a-week year in 2012.
Anyway, in the last
Deadline for submission of projects was 22nd April and my peeps got their stuff in on time. All my other correcting and marking is done, so I was in no steaming hurry to read them; not least because I read an almost final version before Easter. Shortly after Easter, just when we didn't really need it, came the May Bank Holiday weekend when I could have made a start on the task. But I didn't. I had a weekend to myself. I repotted some baby swiss chard. I did the laundry because it was dry. I mowed some grass. "On Tuesday morning . . ." I said
On Tuesday morning my decks were clear and, after tea and toast, I sat down to read the first thesis. I always do them alphabetically by first name so I neither do the interesting ones first nor save the best till last. By lunchtime, I'd done 2 out of 7, and I naively thought two more in the afternoon and I'll be finished by tomorrow night. Nope! All kinds of work stuff happened that afternoon, so it wasn't until nearly 8pm !jakers! that I finally put #3 to bed. One bit of stuff happens on Tuesday was an e-mail from the new and enthusiastic External Examiner to whom I sent "my" projects: Could I please send: the completed double-marked and signed grade-sheet, the module descriptor, the learning outcomes, the rubrics and the assessment breakdown . . . etc. The etc. was unintentionally funny: what else could they want? My naturalisation papers? Their timesheets? Photographs?
Wednesday morning I was thus already behind but there was a winking e-mail from a colleague asking could I re-mark my Second Reader report according to a new Marking Scheme out-of-300 points with (therefore, I guess) a more minute breakdown into categories than the old out-of-100% scheme. I could, and I did but I editted the new Excel marking scheme so it summed everything up for you. And, as that seemed a handy addition, I shared it with the other project supervisors. Well, that was the end of my productive and moderately enjoyable morning reading about the frontiers of science. A different, covid-sensitive [no formal presentation, no interview] marking scheme was proposed at 10:30 . . . written in crap Excel and I felt obliged to make that one work properly too. Then more requests to re-mark my earlier 2nd Reads according to the new scheme. etc. indeed!
These marking schemes are the quintessence of assessment theatre. There is an idea that reading a thesis and saying "I've supervised 60 final year projects over the last 10 years [true dat]; this one is a solid 2.ii, I'll give it 56%" or "this fellow is a charmin' wastrel, who was rarely in class, didn't do a tot of work all year and had to be helped over the line in a last month panic. A reluctant 43%" . . . may not seem scientific . . . but it's actually quite reproducible. Does fragmenting the judgement:
|Materials & methods||10|
|Analysis & discussion||30|
|Bibliography & references||10|