Plagiarism & Popcorn

23APR08

Ok, so I’m marking these grade 10 history essays. Could they at least take out the hyperlinks when they copy the paragraphs from the internet? School here is sooooo different than Canada – at least when I went to school… I’m giving them all perfect scores – especially for grammar on their essays. As long as they copied the information in a logical way … hey. I can always feign ignorance if someone tattles plagiarism – like ohhhh – is that why some of the words are bright blue and underlined… ohhhh!

How about the essay I got that already had a mark at the top? Repurposed do you think? Was it even theirs? How about the grade 11 project. The identical twin boys in my class handed in identical twin projects. I mean, they didn’t even change the fancy little font they chose. Duh. So I gave identical half marks…

How about the girl who gleefully told the class that the Titanic was built in the1950’s? Where did she get that little gem of information? Maybe she was talking about the reproduction of the ship that was built for one of the early Titanic movies? The best part was that 2 minutes before she had just said that it sunk in 1912… Maybe her math isn’t so good?

You know I have figured out this school system. It is not about education, well, let me not be too cynical, it is about education, but it is also about business. These kids are paying for a private education. They can go to the public board free – just like at home. I’m sure the private schools at home are similar in some ways. They want the kids to come back, so they make sure they’re happy and they get good grades so their parents are happy.

Today Puran was getting a bit of a hard time because one of the kid’s mother’s got the idea in the morning that there was no exam for her son that day (misunderstanding between Puran and the mother) and then the kid failed the exam, and said it was because his mother told him not to study – the mother backs this up and blames Puran – as Puran says – it was the morning of the exam that all this supposedly occurred – does that mean that this kid was going to study that morning during his other exams? Had he not studied the night before, the week before, all semester? Puran was hearing some “concerns” from the director that none of the kids in this class got above 80 on the exam – the highest mark was 79.

I know what level to set my exams at. I will also bell curve the marks and fudge and fiddle until the marks fit in their pre-determined pattern of acceptability. Oh don’t worry, I will be able to justify each and every fudge and fiddle, and all kids will be coddled with the same loving pen.

So far, my first fudge has been to alter all tests and assignments to make the highest mark achieved by a student replace the total. Therefore, at least one kid in the class always gets 100% on the assignment. This really helps when you have an assignment that everyone got 10 and 20 out of 60 on. I still tell the kids it’s out of 60 and I expect it to be re-done. I don’t think it would enter a teenager’s mind to question why they got 20 out of 60 and 15 out of 30 etc, and then still end up with 84%. And if they are smart enough to realize the math doesn’t add up, they are also smart enough to keep it to themselves.

So as far as I’m concerned, I can grab some popcorn and sit back and enjoy the show, ‘cause I’ve already written the ending and I am in good standing to win an Oscar for my performance!

The kids have been helping me mark the stories and essays, but today Ciaran has begun to mark some of the grade 7 and 9 English homework. I decided he was capable of this task when he looked over my shoulder at one of the grade 9 papers and said “verb?? that’s not a verb, that’s an adjective, and that one’s an adverb”. He was of course correct and I realized he was well above their level and could easily handle some of the marking. So, I showed him how to use the teacher’s manual and off he went. He even totaled up each paper and wrote their mark at the top. We both giggled at the irony of a 10 year old who’s never been to school marking grade nine papers. I noticed him reading the teacher’s manual instead of marking and I queried his behaviour. “Just checking that they have the correct answers in the book” he quipped, “I wouldn’t want to mark all the papers wrong, just because the book was wrong” Ya he’s qualified – maybe even over-qualified!

Some of the answers are not what I would have expected in Canada, but …

Use “tropical fish” in a sentence.
In the summer we eat a lot of tropical fish.

Hmmm, well, I guess you do.

Comments

hilary slater said…
still awaiting the LOVE theme of blog...I sent you the photo of the love on the wall...
did you get it??
Hope you're gearing up for the trip home..or at least the exam prep..
Let me know if there's anything I can do/send for the exams...
I just got 2 freelance landscape jobs..PHEW>.suddenly really busy!
(and the novel is in its last 40 pages too, so my head is whirling!!)
skype this weekend?
Its May 24 (only not 24 yet!!) this weekend, so monday is a holiday..
hil