Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Lives hanging in the balance

Part of the paper that I am grading is called the Application Question. This is where students are required to use all their wonderful critical analysis and critical reading skills to come up with a coherent piece of commentary. This commentary is graded on how much it is able to apply relevant facts from the passages presented into a current day situation. The shape of this commentary is defined by a question directly thrown at the candidate. It often asks which passage is one likely to agree with/find more relevant/ find convincing...More often than not, the implicit understanding is that in order to explain how xxx is more relevant, one must also explain why zzz is not as relevant/ appropriate/ full of utter rubbish...In layman/student terms, one is required to show balance in the argument, which means the commentary isn't a full on assault on anything. Rather it has to be calm and fair, giving rational voice to the various perspectives of the issue and showing its relevance to a particular society (usually Singapore)

Most of the scripts I get through struggle to get to the rational and fair bit. Most are single-minded in their approach, choosing to see just one side of the issue. I suspect it's painful for the brain to have to consider different perspectives.

At the end of it, I scrawl "Balance???" in the margins, sometimes in bold, depending on how exasperated I am.

Today, there were many like that and I'd gone into a frenzy and went through all 25 students' answers in one sitting. When I got up eventually, a colleague commented that I looked dazed. All I could do was nod, mutter "AQs" (application questions) and manage to trip over myself, just standing there and stumble. Then I mutter, even more loudly, "No balance", realise what a great pun it was considering what I had been doing, collapse heavily into my chair and begin to laugh hysterically.

I think I've lost it.

Anyone seen any of my marbles? They're small, they're pretty and they make a whole lot of noise, especially when they bounce.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 21:01

1 thoughts...

1 thoughts...

At 7:21 pm Blogger missy-j said...

I hated AQs in jc. Really hated them. I found myself really writing a whole load of claptrap at the end of each question. Never quite understood what was the point in the first place. (Same for the summary.)


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