Final exams —

Well, those final exams were more painful to grade than I’d hoped. Cumulative, of course. I think the high grade was a midrange C, overall. On the other hand — I can’t remember, did I mention I decided to break the final into sections corresponding to prior tests? And replace terrible test grades any time a section on the final was 80% or above? So, doing well on a particular section could be dramatically helpful even if the overall grade on the final exam wasn’t great.

And that did indeed help a handful of students. Not as many as I would have liked, but at least half a dozen students got a small to moderate boost that way. One young woman appears to have very sensibly studied hard to get a better grade on a particular section. The original test was worth 100 pts, and she replaced a quite terrible grade with a perfectly decent grade on that one.

After grading the final exam and entering the grades, I considered the grades on the gradebook page. THEN I assigned a value to the final extra-credit project, which had been to write 25 exam questions over the semester’s material. (Obviously I was pulling out all the stops to get students to study.) I gave students who did that project from 10 to 20 points or so depending on the quality of the questions and (I must admit) on whether just a tiny little boost might get them from a D to a C. Which it did, in a couple cases.

So … I’d have liked to hand out a couple more B’s than I did. But overall, the final grades are in line with what I think is reasonable.

`1 A, 6 Bs, 7 Cs, 1 D, 2 Fs, and I can offer this advice to all students everywhere, if you decide not to go to class, you REALLY should make sure to drop the class before it’s too late. A handful of students did drop, including, I will add, two students who probably did not need to. I think they would have done all right eventually. Second piece of advice: talk to the instructor before dropping the class. Third piece of advice: if you’re determined to stay in the class, don’t blow it off.

But overall, I’m not too unhappy with these grades. I think they’re higher than would have been reasonable 15 years ago and I think some students are going to find out with some shock that classes can be much, much harder than my class. But … overall, I’m not unhappy.

Also, I read more of At the Feet of the Sun while the students took the exam. I have one snippet to share with you. This line absolutely delighted me:

Sardeet laughed. Cliopher was slightly surprised that flowers did not start blooming at the sound.

Really, that may be one of the most delightful lines I’ve ever encountered.

While on this topic, I also liked this tidbit, which occurs almost immediately after His Radiancy / Fitzroy / Antorin turns up, (and thank you so much for telling me when that would happen, Elise, because that was really helpful in managing my expectations). But here, but be aware THIS CONTAINS A SPOILER, fair warning:





“I am, as you see, quite recovered,” [said Cliopher]. “It was not all that serious, really.”

“Certainly not,” Rhodin agreed, “if you consider causing the entire government to go into the protocol for the unexpected death of its acting head of state not all that serious.”

“I beg your pardon?” his Radiancy snapped, wheeling around to stare at Cliopher even as a wind out of nowhere whipped through the room and scattered all his careful piles of papers.

This is a great scene. I am indeed much happier now that His Radiancy has turned up. Also, I love Basil. And I like the thing about Ludvic’s background.

I didn’t ever read Pali’s story and I really dislike her, but I’m trying to keep an open mind.

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10 thoughts on “Final exams —”

  1. I just finished At the Feet of the Sun. About five minutes ago. I liked it, a lot, though not as much as Hands of the Emperor. I found myself slogging through parts of it, and losing focus, and getting impatient for the really good parts I knew were coming. (And they did come!) it was LONG! I think my favorite parts are the interactions between the characters that illuminate who they are so well.

    I read the Pali book. She is a difficult character, but the sharp spines point in as well as out. She recognizes her issues and struggles to correct them. I really enjoyed her relationship with Jullanar and her sister Sardeet – they both make room for her to relax her occasionally hostile and grudging posture. I was hoping she and Clipper would come to see the value in each other. Maybe next book.

  2. Good that you’re done with that. I remember TA’ing freshman chemistry way back when, and there were a couple students who were so far behind in math that they simply could not calculate mass fractions no matter how hard they tried, and no matter how many times they came for help. Freshman year of college in a major state school is just way too late to learn basic algebra.

  3. You left out the shocking key word in your spoiler text! Was that on purpose?
    (And not = now just below the italics)

    I’m glad you got a satisfactory result from your teaching semester, both for you and most of the kids. Has the school arranged another replacement, or is the original teacher coming back? Or can you expect to be asked to teach the next semester as well?

    I wonder if some of those not strictly needed drop-outs hadn’t realised they could pick up from bad early grades by doing well in the final – some students regularly calculate the minimum necessary effort to get a passing grade to a nicety, and if they think it’s out of reach they give up completely.
    Or maybe they were doing badly in some other subject that they needed to pass, and wanted to concentrate their study time on that.

  4. Oops, no, I’ll have to fix that, Hanneke.

    Yes, no telling why certain students might have dropped.

    I’m really not interested in teaching next semester, so I hope they have solved the bureaucratic problems that resulted in the sudden request this semester…

  5. Isn’t Basil great? I was so, so happy Cliopher got to see him again. I don’t enjoy Pali very much – I don’t like her, but then I feel guilty for not liking her. Everyone I know who does like her read the two Sisters Avramapul books, so maybe she is easier to like if you meet her when she’s young.

  6. I don’t feel a bit guilty for disliking Pali. She hasn’t shown me anything to like. She seems to have almost no ability to understand other people who supposedly matter to her and definitely no consideration for them.

  7. I haven’t read At The Feet of the Sun yet, but I DID read and enjoy The Redoubtable Pali Avramapul—well, a qualified enjoyment: Pali seemed to make a lot of emotional progress and then would slide right back, and it was frustrating to watch. I know that one good conversation (or three, or five…) does not cure all one’s emotional problems in real life, but isn’t that why we read fiction? So now I’m even more disappointed to hear that Pali is still frustrating in the next book, because there’s so much about her I really like.

    …though now I’m thinking about the recursiveness of her emotional issues as compared to Cliopher retreading the same ground with his family again and again in The Hands of the Emperor. I sure hope THAT is solved for good by now.

  8. I think I went from irritated to annoyed to cringing to impressed, back to cringing, and ended with banging my head into a wall.

  9. This has nothing to do with anything, but I know Rachel and some others will be interested. Griffiths’ sequel to HILD is finally coming out:

    Menewood by Nicola Griffith (3rd October) – The long-awaited sequel to Hild, this book will continue the story of St Hilda of Whitby. The first book was beautifully written and I’ve been looking forward to this one for years!

    posted on the blog today. I’d about given up on ever seeing it.

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