Please sir, can have some more notes?

So it seems that over here, following the marking of exams the students are actually allowed to dispute the ‘notes’ (if you take the spanish word they use for marks/results/grades/scores/whatever you want to call them and translate it into English this comes out as notes and you can imagine the confusion this has caused at various times). The result is a constant stream of students coming to my office wanting to see their exam script and have a quick argument. Even if they find nothing wrong with the marking (or should that be noting?) they start disputing the calculation of their grades. Remember they really go OTT with continuous assesment here and consequently actually calculating the final grade entails considerable amounts of tearing my hair out over a spreadsheet since there are so many different numbers with very different weights that have to be plugged into an overcomplicated formula to compute the final grade (three exams each accounting 15%, three other exams whose MEAN accounts for another 15%, a mark out of five given to them by the postgraduates overseeing the examples classes – which I have the power to tweek – accounting for another 15% and the final exam accounting for a mere 25%).

Thankfully this is all over now, and if half the horror stories my colleagues have told me are true I’ve actually got off pretty lightly. I’ve heard stories of students stealing scripts, changing their answers and then claiming the script was marked wrong. I’ve heard of students, realising that they need to find not one or two extra marks, but TEN extra marks (out of 25) to push their grade up proceeding to actually waste huge amounts of time scrutinising every square inch in an effort to pull off a miracle. There have been students who turn on the water works in an effort to gain the sympathy vote.

At least I don’t have to go through this again until December.

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