## Friday, November 30, 2007

### the 97% man

I had a look at my evaluations this time around and they were something of a mixed bag, resulting in lower grade inflation than usual. Depending on how one calculates the final average, I have either a 96.8% (office's calculation) or a 97.14% (my calculation, which is only rarely in my favor). Both scores, when rounded, come to 97%, hence the title of this humble post.

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1. Are you still planning your walk across America? After you are done, if you want to return to Korea talk to me. Seriously I want you to work where I work. I know how much effort you put into your classes (via your blog posts) and clearly your evaluations show that you have at the minimum excellent rapport with your students.

Anyhow, let me know what your plan is.

2. Are these Korean grades or "real world" grades? It's like I'm in the "Twilight Zone" when I see some of my kids grades from their schools. It boggles my mind how a 50% is actually an A+ at one school, a B- at another, and a C at the other. When does 100 equal 100 here?

One of my best student's "real" average in school is a 72, but at the end of the year it magically turns into a 97.

3. John,

The teachers are evaluated by the students at the end of the term. They're handed an eval sheet that includes a five-question section assessing the teacher and his/her class. "7" is the highest score; "4" is average, and "1" means you truly suck.

Of course, when most students express mere satisfaction, they don't take the eval form literally: they simply chalk up a "7" to indicate satisfaction with a course. In other words, receiving anything below a 7, like, say, a "4," is A Very Bad Thing. Far from meaning "average," it means something more like "incompetent."

All of which leads me to believe that grades aren't so much inflated as diminished in some cases. A student who gives her teacher 34 out of 35 points is, far from saying "He's the best there is," simply saying, "The teacher was good."

As for magically changing grades, well... yeah, it happens in our department as well. I'd rather we all played fair and respected the grading policy, but many students weasel and wheedle their way into having their grade changed, effectively stripping teachers of their authority. I've failed a couple students who ended up somehow passing a given course.

Kevin

4. EFL Geek,

Just curious: are you a scout for your university? What's your department like? How many teachers are in it? What sort of package can your university offer? Will you still be working where you are after I'm done with my walk?

Please send me an email. As the New Yawkas say, We'll tawk.

Kevin

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