Monday 5 November 2018


There's an old joke that profs aren't paid to teach, they're paid to grade. Teaching is a joy. Grading is a nightmare. 

Back at Canterbury, I taught relatively small classes and so didn't get assistance with the grading. But you had to get it done and get the grades back to the kids so that, if they were seriously getting things wrong, they had time to chat with you about it before the finals - or at least have feedback .

Auckland University of Technology's union members are doing a disservice to those students. 
AUT students are frustrated they're having to sit final exams without knowing whether they've passed previous assignments as staff on a marking strike withhold their grades.

More than 750 Tertiary Education Union (TEU) members at the university are refusing to release students' marks unless AUT agrees to raise their salaries by three per cent and pay the lowest paid staff the Living Wage – $20.55 an hour – to more adequately reflect the "time, energy and skill that staff put into their jobs".

Students said it was unfair they had been left in the lurch by the strike and that being kept in the dark about their academic progress was making the exam period more stressful.
The worst part of this isn't anything here mentioned.

Yeah, kids will have a bit of a harder time figuring out how to optimise their studying efforts across classes - but I've never been all that convinced that knowing precisely how many points they need on the exam to pass the course really is all that helpful.

The worst part is that they could be studying from saved versions of their assignments without knowing whether those assignments are right or not.
A student in his final year of AUT's bachelor of computer and information sciences said he and his classmates were yet to receive marks for any of their assignments – one of which was submitted more than a month ago – for one paper due to the strike.

He and his classmates sat their final exam, worth 50 per cent of their total grade, on Tuesday.
The AUT Student Association has come out against the tactic, but could be doing a bit more for future students. If this had happened while I was a student, I'd have wanted a list of lecturers who'd pulled this stunt so I could avoid their courses. I wonder if the Student Association has considered doing that.

And I wonder what the university will do with grade appeals of the form "I screwed up this question on the final exam because I had no feedback on the assignment covering this section and so no opportunity to correct my error. I would have passed the exam had I had that feedback."

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