Thursday, June 25, 2009

Group Work



Math teachers are supposed to be organized. My department is usually not. We used to mark regents without any rhyme or reason. Even in the chaos, the exams got marked. No papers ever got lost.

Several years ago, we organized into marking groups. We marked one envelope at a time. Things were a little more organized but it was still kind of a free for all.

This term we tried something different, something that should have kept everyone working. You know, every school has that group of people that manage to disappear during marking time. This method was supposed to prevent this. (It didn't. The usual group did their Houdini act and disappeared right in front of eveyone's eyes.)

Every group took six envelopes and that group was responsible for those papers. Sounds good, right? Sounds fair? Well, it wasn't. I left for an hour to go to a graduation meeting, two teachers left for extended retirement luncheons and then one left to hand in her papers. Another spent all morning doing rereads on the algebra exam. And, for the first hour, our group only had two members.

By two o'clock, several of the groups were sitting around with their hands folded, waiting until it was time to leave. My group, still short handed, kept on going. By 3:30 we all got up and left. They guy in charge said he would write the group name on the papers that needed to be finished. And then I exploded (at my poor friend who was in charge!)

I'm not marking today. Graduation is in the evening and since I am attending, I am exempt from going in to school tomorrow. Still, what's fair is fair. I hate group work. It never worked for me as a kid, it doesn't work for me in the classroom and it is not working for me as an adult.

5 comments:

mathman42 said...

We had 10 of us to mark 380 IA exams. About 110 passed. That didn't count the 320 who didn't show up. Although many were LTAs.

Pissed Off said...

We had very few absent. I only had 2 out of 68 kids out. Overall, we had 85% pass. Out of my repeaters, 68% passed, not great but not that terrible either.

mathman42 said...

It actually is excellent. Your complaints notwithstanding, someone is doing a hell of a job. I have to check your school's progress report and survey results as you provided a hint as to its name. I suspect the respect for academics at your school may be higher than you realize.

PS May check out the HiLine tomorrow. Go to Governors Island sometime.

Pissed Off said...

I've been to Governor's Island. It is great. I plan to do it again this summer.

We are an A school, well developed.

jd2718 said...

When I first graded regents, each envelope was laid on a desk, and most teachers were assigned one question. All we did was move desk to desk, grading our own question (usually there was a second person assigned to that same question).

I liked being responsible for my own piece, and not being responsible for anyone else's. Also, if someone slacked, everyone would know (since we kept a big grid on the board, with every question, every room/envelope, and we checked off what we had done).

But the more I get around, the more I realize there's a lot more variation in how the papers get marked than I would have suspected.

Good summer!

Jonathan