Thursday, January 10, 2008

Final Exams

It's that time again on campus. Exams are given over a two week period, followed by one week for teachers to get grades turned in. Then the semester is officially over. I was able to give two (Oral English and Writing 1) of my three finals during the last week of December (last week of classes). The third course, Survey of English-Speaking Countries was given during the set examination schedule. (BTW - this is my favorite course. Who would have thought that I would enjoy preparing and giving a 90 minute lecture on the ecomony of New Zealand or the governmental structure of Australia?!) Since there are three sections of the course, help was given to administer the exams in the needed rooms. Two proctors were assigned to each section and the section with me, also had two proctors.

Finals are serious business. Purses, bags, books were left in front of the room. Each student had their photo ID on the desktop. The exam was printed out in a special format on a particular style of paper. The students were given another special type of paper to write their answers (comparable to the U.S. BlueBook system). Then there were certain procedures for collecting the exams. Also, more set procedures for turning in the exams and grades, including the use of a special pen! All this for an English class at a third-tier university. One would've thought it was a high stakes exam like the SAT or GRE. But, in fairness, the final exam is high stakes for the students. It counts for 70% of the course grade (university policy).

One of the proctors assigned to me was a hoot. I'll refer to him as "Captain Military aka CM". He had quite the "Napoleon complex" - all 5 foot (if that) of him (he only came up to my shoulder)! He either stood at attention or marched up and down the aisles for the two hours. About three-fourths way through the allotted time, a student was near tears. She suddenly realized that she was writing the answers (it was a short-answer question format) on the wrong side of the paper. CM marched over to her and was talking sternly. I surmised he was saying she had to start over on the "correct" side. I, then walked over and told her "No, you do not need to rewrite your answers. I will accept the paper". The other proctor, who knew just enough English to understand, set CM straight (after all, it's my course). The student was relieved and CM was probably thinking "softie foreigner"!

About half-way through the exam time, two young women came to the door and summoned me and the two proctors. We signed a paper and each of us were handed 20 Yuan (about $2.50). I can understand the proctors getting a little something for their time, but me? For proctoring my own exam?! Well, thanks, that'll buy a Western breakfast, two large beers or better yet, two manicures. Hmmm, maybe a beer and a manicure after all that grading is done and turned in!

2 comments:

Marietta said...

LOL over your "pay" for proctoring your own exam Ann. Am busy getting my finals together for 1/22 and 1/23. No proctors or blue books for me and they count for 20% of the grade. Happy Birthday Ann! (a little early)

You are in my thoughts every day...Marietta

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