I received a feedback survey that asked about upcoming changes to our workload that might ‘require us to provide written feedback on exams and final performance tasks,’ in addition to the marks and rubrics we currently use. It was a yes or no question, but my real surprise was that they missed the point entirely.
#10. If you were required to provide additional “descriptive feedback” as per the new HDSB administrative procedure, would you be able to finish marking your exams during the work day (i.e. school hours)? *
My honest answer (after I finished laughing): Question 10 asks if I would be able to complete the exam marking with the proposed changes ‘during the work day’. This question is ridiculous, as it suggests that this is currently possible. If I have 90 students, in 3 senior English classes, each having written for 1.5 to 2 hours in the exam, I am marking at school, during my lunch, during exam supervision, every night, on the weekend and right until the moment my marks and comments are due. I sleep 6 hours a night during exam time as it is. The sheer volume is impossible to complete, while providing a fair evaluation of a student’s work and enough feedback to recall each exam if they have individual questions, during the current exam turnaround – and I’m hard pressed to do so even working every waking moment from the time my exams finish to the deadline for my marks. Being required to write more feedback than I already do, which is my choice at this time, would be both unfair and impossible. Especially when we have one single PD day between this workload and brand new classes starting. This scenario also doesn’t take into account the fact that my reports SHOULD capture an up to date picture of each student’s achievement and thus, should not be pre-written. Also, it assumes that all course work has been submitted by students before classes end and exams begin (especially since no late marks can be applied to encourage students to meet original deadlines), and that the 90 performance tasks written in the final 2 weeks have not just contributed to the burnout we all feel at the end of the semester. Thank for your interest.
Side note: exams are sometimes 12 foolscap pages long. hand written. by students in a rush and without editing. have you tried to read hundreds of pages of handwriting lately?