Monday, March 13, 2006

The one question I hate to hear come out of a student's mouth

I handed back my students' quizzes the other day and at the end of the lab one of my students came up to me to inquire about why he got some questions wrong. I'm fine with that. It's good that they are interested in knowing what they did wrong. There was this three part question and he got the first part wrong which then meant he got the second and third parts wrong as well since they had to do with the first part. It's unfortunate but that's how it goes with questions that have multiple parts. Then came the dreaded question - "Even though I got the first part wrong I answered the second and third parts based on my wrong answer in the first part and technically they are right based on my wrong answer so can I at least get part marks?". NO! It's still a wrong answer. Putting a wrong answer then answering the next part based on your wrong answer doesn't make your answer right? Where did students ever come up with this idea? Do they get marks for this in high school? A wrong answer is a wrong answer I don't care if it was right if you base it on your first wrong answer. IT'S STILL WRONG!!! I mean come on, if you were an accountant and you entered a company's profit as $20,000 instead of $50,000 and did all your subsequent calculations based on the $20,000 amount it doesn't mean that all the other calculations are right. The spoonfeeding of students is getting way out of hand.

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