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Author Topic: Drake Law Faculty Bumbles Writing Exams, Will Students Suffer?  (Read 16653 times)

ISUCKATTHIS

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Re: Drake Law Faculty Bumbles Writing Exams, Will Students Suffer?
« Reply #70 on: May 07, 2009, 12:14:28 PM »
"Again, I feel like we are splitting hairs about saying "this is enough to throw someone off" and "this is not enough to throw someone off."

I see that as the central issue.  Pretty much everybody (except for the personal responsibility moralisticons) agrees that a mistake that affects performance isn't fair and should be corrected.  The real issue is whether or not the mistake in this case is enough to meet that standard.  From my perspective, the standard should be pretty low - I think that if it's conceivable that the error could affect performance it should be corrected.  Others either think my standard is too low or think that it's inconceivable that this error could affect performance.

goaliechica

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Re: Drake Law Faculty Bumbles Writing Exams, Will Students Suffer?
« Reply #71 on: May 07, 2009, 12:23:51 PM »
"Again, I feel like we are splitting hairs about saying "this is enough to throw someone off" and "this is not enough to throw someone off."

I see that as the central issue.  Pretty much everybody (except for the personal responsibility moralisticons) agrees that a mistake that affects performance isn't fair and should be corrected.  The real issue is whether or not the mistake in this case is enough to meet that standard.  From my perspective, the standard should be pretty low - I think that if it's conceivable that the error could affect performance it should be corrected.  Others either think my standard is too low or think that it's inconceivable that this error could affect performance.


Oh, and I was just going to come back and write a totally civil post to the same extent and then you had to throw in the business about "personal responsibility moralisticons" and not let go of the sniping  ::)

Look, EVERYONE agrees that the issue is whether or not this could conceivably affect performance. Those who have little sympathy for the OP feel the way you might feel if someone came on here writing a similar post about a misplaced staple - that it is simply ridiculous to think that a duplicate instruction page could throw someone off that much, and that the OP should get over it, because it's not that big a deal. You feel like I might feel if someone came on here and said they personally were given an hour less than everyone else on an exam - like something should be done, and that it's not fair.

But to tell people in the other camp that they are big hypocrites and would never feel this way if it was their own exam is completely ridiculous. You have no idea whether or not that's true. You just disagree with them about whether this is one of those circumstances where personal responsibility kicks in.
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ISUCKATTHIS

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Re: Drake Law Faculty Bumbles Writing Exams, Will Students Suffer?
« Reply #72 on: May 07, 2009, 12:32:39 PM »
Nothing satisfies my cold, black heart more than pre-empting civility.

"You have no idea whether or not that's true."

That's fair.  I'm assuming it is because I've met people in real life who act that way.  I've seen a lot of law students and actual lawyers behave this way and I think the profession either attracts people like that or creates them.

But I can't stand all this "personal responsibility" moralizing.  It's one thing to say - "look, I understand and sympathize, but this particular administrative screw up shouldn't have caused you much harm" and quite another to say "grow up! you're in law school!  you are responsible for checking the format of your exam and, if there is any error, it is your personal responsibility to detect and fix it in the time frame provided.  i would have.  I always do this without fail."  I think that's totally unreasonable and I seriously doubt (perhaps unfairly) that any one holding the OP to that standard would hold him/herself to it in the same or similar situation.

I stand by my prejudgments recognizing full well that that is what they are.  I'm sure I'm the only one who does that, but I'm not going to change.  ;)


goaliechica

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Re: Drake Law Faculty Bumbles Writing Exams, Will Students Suffer?
« Reply #73 on: May 07, 2009, 12:38:47 PM »
I seriously doubt (perhaps unfairly) that any one holding the OP to that standard would hold themselves to it in the same or similar situation.

::shrug::

At least you acknowledge that there is no basis for your opinion other than the fact that you have "seen a lot of law students and actual lawyers behave this way."

I stepped in because I know several of these posters personally, and in fact know that at least one of them has had an exam that was much more bizarrely mis-formated than the OP's, and was thrown off by it, but who took the perspective that she should just suck it up and deal because there was nothing the administration could reasonably do to fix it without unfairly hurting other students. You didn't have that information, but I am just pointing out that your assumption is demonstrably inaccurate in at least her case.

And while I said I was tempted not to be civil I don't think that I was, in fact, incivil, unless you mean the eye-rolling emoticon.
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ISUCKATTHIS

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Re: Drake Law Faculty Bumbles Writing Exams, Will Students Suffer?
« Reply #74 on: May 07, 2009, 12:40:44 PM »
Well, except that you told me I suck.  Which, obviously, is another thing I freely admit to. 


goaliechica

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Re: Drake Law Faculty Bumbles Writing Exams, Will Students Suffer?
« Reply #75 on: May 07, 2009, 12:42:50 PM »
Well, except that you told me I suck.  Which, obviously, is another thing I freely admit to. 

That was before I mentioned anything about attempting to be civil  :P

I apologize for saying that. It was childish.
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ISUCKATTHIS

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Re: Drake Law Faculty Bumbles Writing Exams, Will Students Suffer?
« Reply #76 on: May 07, 2009, 12:45:11 PM »
Yeah, but it was funny.  So that kind of makes up for it.

(no apologies necessary)

Miss P

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Re: Drake Law Faculty Bumbles Writing Exams, Will Students Suffer?
« Reply #77 on: May 07, 2009, 12:56:17 PM »
"Again, I feel like we are splitting hairs about saying "this is enough to throw someone off" and "this is not enough to throw someone off."

I see that as the central issue.  Pretty much everybody (except for the personal responsibility moralisticons) agrees that a mistake that affects performance isn't fair and should be corrected.  The real issue is whether or not the mistake in this case is enough to meet that standard.  From my perspective, the standard should be pretty low - I think that if it's conceivable that the error could affect performance it should be corrected.  Others either think my standard is too low or think that it's inconceivable that this error could affect performance.

You are really arguing with strawmen here.  No one is saying that it was good that the OP had some weird pages inserted in the middle of her exam or that it isn't slightly unfair that other students won't have the same problem.  The questions are really two:

(1) Who is or was in the best position to do something about it?
(2) Are there any grading remedies that are proportionate to the problem?

Far from being "moralisticons," SBA and others have argued that the OP was in the best position to do something about the copying error, both by exercising the normal care most students use when taking timed exams (looking through the test and allotting time for each question appropriately) and by taking, what, an extra minute to look over the requirements once she realized that the exam pagination was confusing.  This rests on a few assumptions: (1) part of good exam-taking is time management; (2) the copying error wasn't that big of a deal in the scheme of things; and (3) crafting a remedy after the fact is much more difficult.  

With the exception of curving the students who took the poorly copied version of the test separately, none of the remedies you have proposed seems very fair to other students.  Obviously, if there were enough students who took the poorly copied version, and they are not clearly a special group (like all of the worst students in the class or all of the scholarship recipients), curving them separately would be a decent -- if perhaps excessive -- response.  I suspect, however, that the OP will find that this doesn't benefit her very much since most other students likely took a moment to look through the questions before starting to answer the first.

The OP should take comfort in the fact that law students frequently misallocate time on exams and write very short answers to important questions.  Law professors understand this, and in most classes you can still get a fine grade even if you didn't completely answer one of the questions.  If the OP did well on the questions she answered, her grade probably won't suffer very much.

FWIW, I will respond to your accusations of insensitivity and hypocrisy with two personal anecdotes.  My first year, I took an exam where students in one room received approximately a half an hour more than students in the other room due to some exceptional circumstances and a proctoring error.  In that situation, obviously, no student was in a position to manage her time better than the others; we were all at the mercy of the proctors. I was one of a small group of students who led the fight to make sure the professor accounted for the time difference when grading the exams even though I was in the room that received more time, I still didn't finish the exam, and I expected my grade to suffer slightly from being graded against only the other people who received more time.  

That same semester, I also accidentally skipped over a page of multiple choice on another exam, didn't realize it until the end, and ended up circling BBBBB for all five questions I skipped.  The professor had indicated we would have "a handful of multiple choice," but there were actually fifteen, and the exam pages were unnumbered and the instruction sheet did not list the number of multiple choice questions.  Nonetheless, it was obviously my mistake.  I worried about this to a friend during an exam post-mortem, but I never complained or felt screwed in any way.  I should have been more careful.
That's cool how you referenced a case.

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ISUCKATTHIS

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Re: Drake Law Faculty Bumbles Writing Exams, Will Students Suffer?
« Reply #78 on: May 07, 2009, 01:00:26 PM »
"You are really arguing with strawmen here."

Wow, do you people over-use that phrase. 

"No one is saying that it was good that the OP had some weird pages inserted in the middle of her exam or that it isn't slightly unfair that other students won't have the same problem."

Please go back and read what I actually wrote.  It shouldn't be that hard, you quoted it in your post.  It seems that your affliction causes you to see men of straw everywhere.  That must suck for you.

"ar from being "moralisticons," SBA and others have argued that the OP was in the best position to do something about the copying error, both by exercising the normal care most students use when taking timed exams (looking through the test and allotting time for each question appropriately) and by taking, what, an extra minute to look over the requirements once she realized that the exam pagination was confusing."

I completely disagree with this.  The administration was clearly in the best position to correct the problem.  I suppose I will never see eye-to-eye with any one who insists that it was the students.  Anyway, for my perspective on this issue, please see my post of several days ago.  No need to rehash old arguments.

Your personal anecdotes are interesting, but I don't think they break any new ground.  I think you would have hard time arguing that your missing multiple choice questions based on something the professor said would put you at a disadvantage relative to other students if they all had the same exam.  Don't get me wrong, I sympathize and that sucks (and, in an ideal world, I don't think it should be held against you).  However, you can't argue that you were being treated unfairly with respect to other students... unless I missed something.  In that case I agree that it really was your oversight, not the professor's.  In the other, I think you were right to challenge the admin.  That situation was patently unfair and left some students advantaged over others.  You were totally and completely right to have the administration correct the error. 

The OP's situation clearly falls somewhere in between.  I think it's closer to the exam timing issue.

Miss P

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Re: Drake Law Faculty Bumbles Writing Exams, Will Students Suffer?
« Reply #79 on: May 07, 2009, 01:13:21 PM »
"You are really arguing with strawmen here."

Wow, do you people over-use that phrase. 

"No one is saying that it was good that the OP had some weird pages inserted in the middle of her exam or that it isn't slightly unfair that other students won't have the same problem."

Please go back and read what I actually wrote.  It seems that your affliction causes you to see men of straw everywhere. 

"ar from being "moralisticons," SBA and others have argued that the OP was in the best position to do something about the copying error, both by exercising the normal care most students use when taking timed exams (looking through the test and allotting time for each question appropriately) and by taking, what, an extra minute to look over the requirements once she realized that the exam pagination was confusing."

I completely disagree with this.  The administration was clearly in the best position to correct the problem.  I suppose I will never see eye-to-eye with any one who insists that it was the students.  Anyway, for my perspective on this issue, please see my post of several days ago.  No need to rehash old arguments.

I'm sorry, perhaps I didn't understand what you meant by "personal responsibility moralisticons."  If you meant simply people who have argued that those taking timed exams should look through the questions to allocate their time appropriately, then I apologize and there are no straw men.

I don't know if you realize it, but you're really being a jerk and insulting people for no conceivable reason except that you apparently surround yourself with assholes and assume every other law student or lawyer is like them.

"ar from being "moralisticons," SBA and others have argued that the OP was in the best position to do something about the copying error, both by exercising the normal care most students use when taking timed exams (looking through the test and allotting time for each question appropriately) and by taking, what, an extra minute to look over the requirements once she realized that the exam pagination was confusing."

I completely disagree with this.  The administration was clearly in the best position to correct the problem.  I suppose I will never see eye-to-eye with any one who insists that it was the students.  Anyway, for my perspective on this issue, please see my post of several days ago.  No need to rehash old arguments.

Once the test started, the administration was not in a good position to correct the problem at all; the difficulty of crafting an appropriate remedy is a clear indication of this.  (Perhaps you mean that the person who copied the exam was in the best position to correct the problem, but that's not the issue here.  But sure.) 

I don't know to which of your several posts of several days ago you're referring me, but I have read the entire thread and I don't recall any posts that address my arguments at all.  Obviously, you're free to disagree with me, but without any analysis, it's just stubbornness and not a debate.
That's cool how you referenced a case.

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I'm so far from the end of my tether right now that I reckon I could knit myself some socks with the slack.