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Word To The Unwise

| Learning | January 20, 2015

(While doing a biology test, one question says ‘describe what happens to the ethanol production rate between 0 and 60 hours,’ which is the full span of the accompanying graph. There are three full lines to write my answer, so I give a detailed description of how it’s slow between 0 and 10 hours, fast between 10 and 30, etc, until it stops completely at 40 hours. Later, when I receive my marked test back, I get a ‘fail’ for that question.)

Me: “Hey, Mr. [Teacher], what’s the problem with my answer for this question?”

Teacher: “Well, according to the marking scheme, your answer needs to be the exact words ‘it increases’, or you don’t get the pass for the question. I think your answer shows that you fully understand the topic, and I would mark it correct if I could, but I have to follow the marking scheme.”

(The teacher then decides to change that mark for the student sitting next to me from pass to fail, because although his similarly detailed description contained the words ‘rises sharply’, it wasn’t ‘it increases’. Why he’d passed it before in that case, I have no idea. I tried to protest, but the teacher glossed over it saying it didn’t matter because we’d passed our tests overall, hadn’t we? A short while later, he is addressing the class as a few still work on their tests.)

Teacher: “Now, watch out for questions such as this one here, there’s very specific wording you need to use.”

Me: “Okay, so is there a part on the sheet that indicates the specific words you need to use?”

Teacher: “Well, no, but it should be obvious.”

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