Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Failing with Flying Colors

I graded the midterms today. I was disappointed in my students' collective performance, more specifically their lack thereof.

In my English class, I gave them thirty questions. Five were multiple choice, and 25 were matching words with definitions. I divided the page down the center, with the word requiring definition on the left hand side, and the definitions with a letter next to them to answer the questions. This is where it gets funny. I wrote the 25 questions in OpenOffice.org Calc, the
spreadsheet component of OOo. I wrote the word in column a, a blank in column b, the letter to correspond with a definition in column c, and the actual definition in column d. Being lazy, I didn't want to keep track of each and every letter answer used, so I simply went down the sheet with definitions, a to z. I then highlighted columns c and d and sorted them alphabetically according to column d. Then, the test was ready. I didn't even think about what this meant at the time, until it came time to grade the test today -- a student would have gotten a perfect score had he simply written a-z alphabetically down the column as his answers.

Sadly, not a single student picked this up. Teacher mind games, perhaps?

My history class didn't have such a break handed to them. Instead, I told them that I was going to take the questions directly out of the book, and I did. After taking the test, one of the students came up to me and said, "Rabbi, I failed your test with flying colors." And, get this -- the highest grade on my history test belongs to a guy who forgot to write his name on the

Oy. I hope the hanhala doesn't think this is a reflection on my teaching ability.

In other news, I did some googling, following Jen's questions about remote admin of her machine, and I found this site, which has links to free and not free implementations of ssh. I can only speak for one implementation of the ssh server, and that's the Cygwin product. However, as far as I have seen of Cygwin, this isn't recommendable for someone who wants to access their main filesystem, as Cygwin is a program layer that allows Unix/Linux programs to run on Windows by tricking the programs into thinking they're actually running in their native environment. It creates a Unix filesystem tree in a folder, and that's all you can touch with the Unix shell, as far as I can tell from my limited experience with Cygwin. I could be wrong.

Good for the curious to check out, just the same. SSH.com is mucho expensive, but some of the implementations of the server are rather reasonably priced for Windows software. They have some extra features that would be necessary for the software to be useful, because by itself, the Windows command line is completely brain dead compared to the Unix ones.

Of course, there's always the Unix/Linux world, where you can get OpenSSH for free. :)


At 9:57 PM, Blogger Jen said...

Vat a story! I can SO sympathize.

I have found my students not studying at all before a major test (like a final). When I ask them to do simple things (classwork wise) that they should have learned years ago and should have done over and over and over again over the years, they still cannot function without immediately asking for the answer from a friend.

They refuse to think for even a whole minute on a question. We're not even talking about a higher-order level question. I have spent three days chastising them over this and trying to break them of this habit. It's not working. They refuse to use their brains. I don't know how to MAKE them. It's driving me nuts. I'm supposed to turn them into THINKERS. Higher level. Leave no child behind, blah blah blah. But they won't meet me 10% of the way!!!! *wah*

At 10:54 PM, Blogger Yid said...

That's exactly what I'm experiencing. I keep giving some of them a hard time, telling them that I refuse to let them pretend that they're stupid.

You gotta admit that the answers to the English final were funny, though!


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