The Fun Part of Correcting Exams

Correcting exams, as I mentioned before, can be fairly depressing, especially when comparing the actual percentage of retention with what I expected, but there are a few students who liven it up. One of my friends came across this in her history exam: “Women played a major role in the history of man. As we all know, women were the ones who brought men to our world.”An English teacher came across this (I believe about something in Othello): “He loved her like butter, or bones on flesh.” Since there are not really any essays on math tests, my students don’t have interesting topics to rant about, but they still manage to spice up their exams somehow. Here’s a hypothetical – you are in the middle of a five hour grading session, you have already graded the same problem dozens and dozens of times, and you come across something like this:

I’m not really sure what that means or why he felt like writing that at that point or maybe if he thought that a compliment (is that a compliment?) would get him extra points, but it totally succeeded in making me laugh out loud alone in my apartment. There’s one student who consistently writes the strangest things on his tests, especially when he doesn’t know how to do a problem. Here are three typical instances of this from our last final that happen to be of the main three types of randomness that I see from him…

1. Cursing Me
(Optimization is a type of problem in Calculus.)

2. Trevoring
(He has this obsession with randomly writing/saying/probably thinking the name Trevor. It has something to do with a kid with Tourette’s from his old school, but I still have no idea what it is all about. It’s guaranteed to come up every single test though.)


3. Drawings
(These usually occur in the bonus questions or on the back page of the exam. Often they are of me. To indicate that it is me, I’m wearing a bow-tie and have a TI-83 calculator in my pocket.)

Though this certainly earns him an A for personality, that doesn’t make up a big part of the exam grade. In fact, it’s 0%. But he definitely gets points in my head for making my life that much more interesting.

Posted on March 20, 2011, in Calculus, Teaching. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. You ARE a teminator.

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