Powered by TypePad

« Speaking of caucuses versus primaries... | Main | All the process/political news that's fit to print »

February 9, 2008

More details on a Proposal #3 version of the final

On Friday, Adam Primm sent me this more formalized version of his final proposal (known in this post as Proposal 3).  Here is the full text of his proposal:

I would estimate that the grading breakdown for written to oral would be 75/25 or 80/20, but ultimately that would be up to Professor Berman. 

Written

·         We would be given a topic to write about, just like in proposal 2 posted on the blog. 

·         We would then write a paper from the perspective of our “who”, like in proposal 1.

·         There would be a word/page limit on the length of the paper, like in proposal 1.

Oral

·         After submitting our paper, each student would have 15-30 minutes (depending on time restraints and what Professor Berman thinks is appropriate) to discuss the topic with Professor Berman

·         We would have to defend our answer, possibly elaborate on it, with Professor Berman

For the complaints on the blog:

·         “This is not Spanish class nor am I interested in my Ph.D. dissertation defense.”à lawyers need to make oral arguments in the real world

·         “Unless Prof Berman plans to get use some voice disguising technology and set up some kind of confessional booth type thing to protect anonymity”à grading doesn’t have to be anonymous.  Legal writing isn’t and components to Criminal Law weren’t either because Dressler had the discretion to raise and lower our grades by 3% if he felt it was necessary.

·         “#3 is not feasible and wouldn't go with the overall focus of the class particularly well.”à #3 is most closely related to class because it incorporates not only the readings and preparation for class (the writing portion) but it also incorporates the discussion (in-class portion). 

·         “Allows some forgiveness for a "bad day" or week on any single paper”à the dual component of a paper and an oral discussion can make up for a bad day, and actually even enable the student to further explain the paper if it is unclear. 

Debate away in the comments, dear students.

February 9, 2008 in Debating the final | Permalink

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
https://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d8341c8ccf53ef00e550293d358833

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference More details on a Proposal #3 version of the final:

Comments

This is making me nervous...

Lawyers do need to make arguments in the real world, but that's what Ap Ad is for. Legislation is not Ap Ad.

DID Prof. Dressler subtract/add 3%? Because the way Prof. Whaley describes the grading process (he said he just feeds the numbers into the machine, he can't control the curve itself), if Prof. Dressler had to do the same thing, then maybe his subtract/add 3% rule was really a scare tactic to get us to participate. I'm assuming all the professors have to use the same process since all the 1Ls are suppose to be graded on the same curve (Legal Writing excepted, since there's no way that can be done anonymously) .

Even if each person would get only 15 minutes, if you times that by (estimating) 70 people that's more than 17 hours of debating for Prof. Berman, not to mention time for grading the other papers. Also, that means 20 or 25% of our final grade for the entire semester will be determined in only 15 minutes. I think that's actually far worse for the student having a bad day on the day of the debate.

If we try to shorten the debate time for Prof. Berman's convenience, that makes the debate worth even more disproportionately, and if we extend the time, not only would that be more time out of Prof. Berman's schedule, that could possibly cut into time studying for our other exams/classes. The students done with the debate first would have potentially 17 hours + advantage to study for the next exam over the students who do the debate last.

Posted by: S. Lee | Feb 9, 2008 10:53:56 AM

First, thank you, Adam, for fleshing the idea out more. Prof. Berman, could you post the idea you read in class the other day?

I agree with Sarah and think that her point about the advantage some people would have by going earlier in the process is excellent. Also, while I do think that Dressler's 3 point thing was more than a scare tactic, there is a huge difference between 3 points and 10 or 15. And Dressler's was simply based on participation--it had nothing to do with skill. So long as you read stuff on TWEN, voted, and showed up, you were fine. And lastly, I wanted to point out that my legal writing class is graded anonymously.

I do feel that if we wanted to do an oral component to this (and I am still not sure that I want to at all, I don’t think I do but am trying to come up with a compromise!), the best way would be in small groups, such as groups of four different “whos.” They present their "arguments" in front of Berman or the class, for about 15 minutes during the final exam period for the class and then defend their positions to the class. I envision two papers before this, each worth about 40 percent and both from the same “who” perspective. One paper would get into the topics we’ve done to date; the next paper would draw on the statutory interpretation skills we will soon learn. The oral component would put it all together. For those who fear or loathe group work, I actually see this as not too much group work at all. Basically, you are writing papers on your own and then sharing them with a few others who are writing about the same topic but from different perspectives. The oral component at the end is just then you with the other people in that group—and it is only worth 20 percent.


Posted by: stephanie | Feb 9, 2008 12:27:30 PM

One more thing. Sorry! But here are the advantages I see to having the oral component take place in a group:

• It saves Berman time—and solves the problem of those going earlier having the unfair advantage. With four people to a group, that’s about 18 groups. So in our three hour exam block, each group could have about 10 minutes to present, discuss, and debate. Or we could make the groups a bit bigger and get ourselves more time.

• It takes the pressure off those of us who do not like the idea of presenting to Berman without having any training in how to do this.

• We can be graded and curved as a group, so we are encouraged not to sabotage our fellow group members. Plus, this portion will only be worth 20 percent of less. Alternatively, we could have this portion not on a curve—but with performance standards, so that every group could potentially get an A here, and then the final grades (including the papers) will be curved. This will make people work harder to get an A on this portion to beef up the rest of the grade. And yes, this route means that potentially every group could get 100 percent on this, and some might say then the assignment is a wash. But we would actually be learning and would be motivated to do well to earn that 100 percent—and that is no wash at all.

• It’s much more realistic. Presenting and debating our positions within small groups is something we will do over and over again in our careers.

• It is more beneficial to the class as a whole. In addition to gaining experience of orally presenting, we will also gain from hearing our classmates present. That is not something that happens if we meet with Prof. Berman one-on-one.

• Finally, in addition to the extreme time commitment of one-on-one meetings, the preparation commitment that would be required from Prof. Berman is extremely high for one-on-one meetings. So it would just be 18 or 35 hours of him listening to us talk--he'll have to reread our papers before we come in, think of questions to ask us, and then evaluate us. I think that is a heck of a lot, particularly if he will also be grading our papers earlier in the semester.

Posted by: stephanie | Feb 9, 2008 1:17:10 PM

Frankly, as I have said in the other thread, I am 100% opposed to any "oral" exam constituting any portion of my grade. This was not in the syllabus and it is not done by any other class in the first year now or previously. The grade should be based on a blind written evaluation just like EVERY other student in the class of 2010. I am not doing an untrained AppAd six months before I take the class.

Posted by: Michael Wilt | Feb 9, 2008 1:55:54 PM

What's going to be interesting is when we realize that some of us really don't want to write papers and some of us really don't want to give oral arguments, and then we get to settle for a normal exam just like the other classes because we can't agree.

Posted by: Amanda McNeil | Feb 9, 2008 9:07:49 PM

This debate is why I proposed that an oral defense/presentation be optional. I think that if those of use who do not want to speak just write and those of us who prefer speaking just speak, it will put everyone on equal footing as far as preference. It also makes the oral portion less stressful on Prof. Berman's schedule and allows us to shine in whatever presentation method we feel most comfortable with.

I have always thought a traditional exam would be fun to do orally, but this could work for any proposition.

Posted by: Hyatt Shirkey | Feb 9, 2008 11:39:13 PM

I think it is an excellent idea. Legislation has been anything but a typical class up to this point. Its unique nature requires unique examination. If we choose anything other than the traditional three hour exam, whatever method is adopted will certainly favor students who are more comfortable in whatever alternative is utilized. This proposal is particularly successful because it blends together oral and written communication skills. This provides the best opportunity for everyone to have some time spent examining their "strength".

As to some of the general dissent:
Miss Lee - Professor Dressler added or subtracted 3% to anyone's grade when he felt the need to do so. It was not a scare tactic and did occur. As for Professor Berman spending 17 hours handling oral examinations, two things. First, if that is a problem for him, let him assert that argument. Second, how much time do you think Professors spend reading 700 pages worth of student examinations? 17 hours may very well be a decrease for our illustrious Professor.

Mr. Wilt: We did untrained "Memos" last semester for Civil Procedure.

I do like the idea of working in groups, given, we are permitted to choose our groups. Otherwise, there are a host of problems associated with group work that I will happily discuss at length in a future post.

Lastly, those of you who are so adamant to assault every potential proposal, please feel free to spend 30 minutes of your time and put one together; even if it is just: normal 3 hour in class exam.

Please feel free to hate me now...

Posted by: Alex | Feb 10, 2008 9:39:58 AM

Alex, I already did put forth a proposal in the other thread. However, I also am more than happy with a 3 hour exam, in class or take home. In fact, I think that's probably what we should end up doing.

As far as doing a memo for Civil Procedure - no. At least, our section did not. Not even close to a memo, in format or style. We answered a series of questions based on the research we did. As such, it was based on our researching abilities, which we had already learned.

My point is that any type of oral examination is going to be highly unfair, in several ways:

1. No other legislation class is doing anything similar, as far as I am aware.

2. Not everyone is a good speaker and public debater, and debating with a law professor can be intimidating for some.

3. We haven't learned how to do this, so either Berman will have to be very lenient (in which case there's no point to having this), or people who have good public speaking and debating skills will get higher grades - not based on the work they did in preparing for the paper or writing it, but based on their natural ability.

We are now in the sixth week of the second semester and we don't know how we're going to be evaluated. It's hard to study for that which you don't know. I think we should just do as the syllabus said with whatever minor adjustments we want to make. Going to an oral exam is not a minor adjustment and it's not what a lot of us signed up for.

Posted by: Michael Wilt | Feb 10, 2008 11:57:40 AM

Everyone keeps talking about debating and App Ad. When I made this proposal, I never thought it would be a formalized debate with Professor Berman. I thought that it would be a discussion with evaluation on our written paper. Also, Professor Berman may raise hypotheticals in response to our papers that we would then have to think through and explain to him.
This would be very similar to writing our paper in Civ Pro; it will be a more relaxed environment with leniency on our technique and style. You wouldn't have to learn App Ad before hand.
As for the time restraints, I thought 30-60 minutes might be better, but that probably would have been too much of a time restraint on Professor Berman. However, 30 minutes each is about 35 hours. We have 2 reading days and the actual exam day to do this. I also agree with Alex that this would probably save Professor Berman time because he would have less to grade overall.

Posted by: Adam | Feb 10, 2008 1:15:13 PM

I agree with everything Alex Darr said above. I would also like to add that in Professor Tokaji's Civ Pro class participation was 10% of the final grade. I think Adam's proposal is being misinterpreted. As I understand it, he is not proposing we debate Professor Berman. His idea is to give Professor Berman a chance to ask questions about our paper. Yes, it would involve you thinking on your feet about something I am sure you will be well informed about. This is something you will be doing ALL the time as an attorney. I do not think there is any basis for the argument that someone will have more time to spend studying for an exam depending on when they give their oral argument. If you decide to spend all of your time on this oral part of legislation that would be a poor choice and I doubt it would occur.

Did any of us really know what we were getting ourselves into when we "signed up" for law school? Professor Berman has the freedom to basically do whatever he wants in our class. He was the one that first mentioned an oral exam and it does not matter what other legislation classes are doing, each class is allowed to be different.

I have no strong opinion on this topic either way, although I think it would be a nice change and dare I say a little fun.
Regardless of the outcome this has been an entertaining exercise. It's interesting to see the different tactics people use to defend/attack

Posted by: Alexandra Dattilo | Feb 10, 2008 1:34:53 PM

The papers we did in Civil Procedure are not comparable to oral debates for Legislation. I don't know about Prof. Tokaji, but Prof. Fairman admitted the papers were a requirement he didn't agree with because we wouldn't be taking Legal Writing until the spring semester. Also, every section had to do a paper, and as Michael pointed out, not every Legislation class is doing an oral debate.

And then there's just the nature of debating itself; papers can be edited and re-written, but debate skills require practice. Judging a student on speaking skills when they haven't had a chance to practice or learn is not the same as judging a student who hasn't learned to write a paper. I bailiffed for Ap Ad last semester and I know some 2Ls who worked insanely hard to prepare for their presentations and had a lot of prep work - and they only spoke for 15 minutes per person. It's unfair to demand we debate for 15 minutes or even more when we haven't had that much preparation as the Ap Ad students did, and have the debate worth as much as 20% of our grade.

I'm sticking with my original vote for having one paper this semester - we have plenty of existing proposals with their own support...

Posted by: S. Lee | Feb 10, 2008 1:35:44 PM

oops I guess Adam beat me to it.

Posted by: Alexandra Dattilo | Feb 10, 2008 1:36:17 PM

I think it is unfair to keep comparing Adam's suggestion to App Ad. It is just not the same thing. Also I know legal writing classes that have an oral aspect, mine doesn't. Does that mean it shouldn't be allowed because not every legal writing class has one?

Posted by: Alexandra Dattilo | Feb 10, 2008 1:39:26 PM

It's not the same as AppAd, and no one is saying it is. What is being said is that we've had no training for defending a paper.

"He was the one that first mentioned an oral exam and it does not matter what other legislation classes are doing, each class is allowed to be different."

I don't recall him being the first to mention it, but even given that, the fact is that there is supposed to be, across the entire class, as standardized means of testing students as is possible. It's not fair to have different classes doing entirely different things yet being ranked against each other.

This is just not the right way of testing first year law students who are already on edge, nervous, and under stress. We know how to prepare for exams and it's not that far of a stretch to do a paper or take home. It is however entirely different to do an oral defense, exam, discussion, debate, whatever word you choose to mask it as. The syllabus said we "will have a take-home, open-book final exam," and I think deviating too much from that will result in more problems than are necessary.

To be perfectly honest, I know there are some people who love the idea of talking to earn a grade because that's more comfortable and has been more successful for lots of us in our academic careers. It's just not an even way of grading 70 students.

So I've said my piece, I'm done :)

Posted by: Michael Wilt | Feb 10, 2008 2:56:10 PM

Just talking would not be an even way of grading 70 students. But the same argument can be said for just writing a paper or writing a series of short papers. IF we do just one or the other, someone will be able to complain that it was not fair because it wasn't their strength. This proposal evens the playing field by combining both.

Also, Professor Berman was the first person to mention an oral component to an exam in class. That is what gave me the idea for the proposal. I actually first posted this proposal during class, about 10 minutes after he mentioned it in class, which was just before Professor Berman sang that "Hyatt's a bill, yes he's only a bill..."

Posted by: Adam | Feb 10, 2008 5:19:44 PM

Do we know what kind of majority vote we need to get for any proposal to go through. I remember the discussion about the possibility of veto and override, but it would help me to think about this issue if we had a better idea of how this process is going to work.

Posted by: Amanda McNeil | Feb 10, 2008 8:51:04 PM

Group work is a terrible, horrible idea. It would mean group grading, which means that chunks of students would get the same grade. It inevitably means some students getting credit for other's work. It also means getting averaged in with a group of others. Given the importance of grades and the inability of the professor to give us final grades out of the curve, group work is completely unacceptable. Stephanie I understand you're saying that we could all get 100% on part of the grade and then it would be a wash, but 1. I don't think that would happen and 2. even if it did then I don't think it would serve the class well, it would only increase the focus on the other portion of the grade, making it even more likely that people get graded down from having a "bad day". I am sick at the thought of any kind of group work, group grading or group anything. Our first year grades are ultra-important, and I will not have mine raised, lowered, or averaged in with anyone else, and I don't care if its only 20%. As for the suggestion to allow us to pick our own groups, this would only make the problems worse, focusing more on how smart your friends are instead of how well each individual understands the material. I am adamantly opposed to the "group" idea, possibly to the point of making a big fuss about it if it came to that point - hopefully it won't.

I'm somewhat opposed to the idea of doing an oral exam, but it would be tolerable. Obviously it would make anonymity non-existent, and yes, dressler's class wasn't anonymous either - and there were some people who felt that was very unfair, myself included. We need the professor to be as objective as possible, and to me that means being graded on what we write. Also keep in mind that it would be a lot easier for you to have a bad 15 minutes than it is to have a bad day. What I mean is that if we're worried about people having an off day on an exam and that being unfair since it so strongly affects their grade, then how much MORE unfair is it to have whatever portion of your grade based on 15-30 minutes? That is almost no time at all, no time for reflection, no time to pick yourself up if you make a mistake. Throwing group element on top of that (15-30 min) for 4 people to get graded seems like an insanely short amount of time. I also think it would be very very boring for Prof. Berman. Additionally, students who went last for their oral exam would be advantaged in terms of time to prepare and hearing inevitable gossip about what Berman asks, what its like, etc. If it were only 17 hours of Berman's time (which I doubt) that would of course have to be fairly spread out, at least several days if not more, showing the timing reasons above to be a valid concern. I'd have loved to have an extra few days for some of my finals last semester, but it would be patently unfair. I think the oral exam idea is creative and interesting, but still a bad one.

People are making this much more complex than it needs to be due to some understandable animosity over grades in general. I think people want to mix things up in the hopes they'll land in a better spot. Let's keep it simple, as stress free as possible and in line with the way the course is being taught. Prof. Berman acknowledged we haven't had any material so far we could do issue spotting with, but we will be getting some. We will be able to have a fairly traditional law school type exam question by the end (at least part of the test). I am all for getting creative and think the early paper will be very helpful. What I am not prepared for is to have the entire system overthrown for this one class, making all our lives less predictable and more stressful. The curve is set up for blind (or nearly blind), objective and hopefully dispassionate grading. Its still going to be A's 25% B's 55% and C's 20%. Having a preliminary paper and then a final take home or predictable 3 hour in class final would make the whole semester more stress-free. Does anybody really want to do mock/practice group oral examinations the last week of school? Professor Berman, are you interested in potentially spending 35 extra hours in your office listening to 70 different 1Ls give you mini-lectures?

I say this with the utmost respect, understanding that probably very few people were entirely satisfied with grades, myself included: Do you really think that oral/group work would help you learn this material better or are you just hoping that a different structure would help get different grades?

Posted by: Scott Rowley | Feb 10, 2008 9:51:56 PM

I agree with everything you said, Scott.

Also I'll point out that pretty much every professor we've had has reserved the right to raise or lower your grade for participation/attendance/beauty, etc. Dressler just put a % limit on it. That doesn't mean the exam wasn't anonymous. All the profs can raise or lower your grade by some amount.

Posted by: Michael Wilt | Feb 10, 2008 10:29:30 PM

Thank you, Scott! I was waiting for someone to express their adamant opposition to group work, although what I am proposing is not so much group work as a group presentation. But I understand what you are saying and know that others share your feelings. Indeed, I am quite sure the group work proposal won't pass. There is not much support for it.

But to answer the last question you pose--yes, I do think a group project would help us learn the material better. As I stated in an earlier post, I think that the group idea is more akin to real life. Rather than just debating or presenting back and forth with one other person, we'd be doing it with a view. As Foley pointed out last class, the most important skill of an attorney is to be able to think differently than you do, to see the world from other people's perspectives. I think group presentations, looking at legislation from the perspectives of multiple "who's", will help us develop this skill.

So--while I don't see my idea passing, I do think that there is pedagogical merit to the idea.

And given just the overall atmosphere of law school...I think learning to get along with others, in and of itself, is a goal worth pursuing.

(I am also working up another idea. It’s called “Legislation Survivor.” On the date of the final exam, we divide into two teams—Faiman and Tokaji. We form alliances. We break them. We do some neat challenges involving water and mud. And the last survivor gets the top prize. It’s a work in progress.)

Posted by: stephanie | Feb 10, 2008 10:30:50 PM

Michael, see your point, the exam was anonymous but who knows what he really did with the grading. I agree with what you said earlier about the syllabus. Its somewhat unfair to change it now and we just need to have a take home or in class exam - period.

Stephanie, I agree there might be some pedagogical merit to your idea, but its just not going to happen. Its too complicated, no support etc.

Posted by: Scott Rowley | Feb 11, 2008 10:10:47 AM

I would like to do an anonymous post because I don't want to be accused of falling into any section biases, nor do I like the idea of being that guy/girl.

First off, I want to respond to the argument that not everyone is a good speaker and public debater...well, not everyone is a good writer in a tense, three hour period. I don't find that argument to have merit. Many classmates have a "natural ability" to bullsh*t their way through a law school exam...obviously, we can't complain about that. Also, no one "taught" us how to write law school exams any more than speech class in undergrad "taught" us how to do an oral argument. That argument is also bogus.

As to the argument that Berman will find our oral section of the exam "boring," I would have to disagree. Professor Berman seems to me exactly the kind of guy who would LOVE to do this instead of reading through 70 monotonous issue-spotters. I certainly do not know him well, but this seems rather clear.

Thirdly, I think attacking the idea of a different exam on the basis that people are using it to get a better grade is insulting and ridiculous. How dare you say that the only reason I don't want to take a three hour issue-spotter is so I can "land in a better spot?" I am perfectly happy in my own little spot and I don't need a 100% to verify my happiness. People whom I know that received all A's are also fans of a "change-up" in the exam, and this is obviously not their motive.

Finally (yes, this is the last point), what happened to learning for the sake of learning? Though I do agree that the classroom sometimes gets out of hand and focus is slightly screwy, it is nice to be in an atmosphere where the "love" of the law and joy of learning something both interesting and pertinent to life are key. It's sad that competition and arrogance have overtaken this experience. That said, "learning to get along with others" seems to be a lesson from which many of us could benefit.

Posted by: Anonymous | Feb 11, 2008 3:52:30 PM

Just for fun, I'm going to jump into the fray here to attempt to force some perspective. I would just like to point out that this has devolved into a "Lord of the Flies"-esque discussion, and it's honestly pretty funny to watch. When there is authority and direction, the class does fine and generally treats each other amicably. Now that we are essentially "on our own" (because Berman has yet to make a definitive decision), people are attacking each other and fighting as if for their very lives. Things that shouldn't be that important are suddenly affronts to their very dignity as human beings.

Because of the curve, natural variations in intelligence and aptitude, and external factors, no one choice is sure to guarantee a person failure or success. As a student, your job is to take the challenge presented to you and put all your effort into doing the best you can. Does that mean every option is as appealing to you as every other option? Of course not. But it is your responsibility to adequately prepare and then execute the task set before you. I mean, this is law school! Did you not expect it to be difficult? Remember Whaley's retort when we were all complaining about how stressful our lives were when our Civil Procedure papers were due: "You mean law school's HARD?!?"

In summation: this is only one grade out of five this semester, first year grades do not impact GPA's as much as 2 & 3L grades, the format will not determine your grade - your effort, preparation, and understanding of the material will, and we have another 2.5 years together - so be nice.

Posted by: Kristen | Feb 11, 2008 5:05:59 PM

What a debate, so hot and saucy! Myself, I have yet to decide what option I favor, though I have some thoughts, and may be leaning one way...

First, grading us exclusively by way of a paper, or series of papers, would eliminate one source of tension in law school grading – that is, it would reduce the chance that a “bad day” would be a major factor. Any kind of traditional exam or oral exam – debate, discussion, chat, whatever – would not do so. Whether the oral element mirrors App Ad or is more like a casual chat seems immaterial to me, and so seems any provision that would weight the oral element less than the written element. In any case, the good-day-bad-day thing would be a factor.

Second, we won’t enjoy that kind of comfort as lawyers. We’ll sometimes appear in court on a moment’s notice, and it may be a great day, may be bad day, and you may prevail or lose accordingly.

So, I’m torn. As much as I want my education to reflect fully and fairly the environment in which I’ll someday practice law, I also want grading to be as fair as possible. And I’m wondering if it would be most fair, for the purpose of our exam, to minimize the impact of good and bad days. Thoughts?

Last thing, I wouldn’t worry about what is convenient to Prof. Berman, and I say that with all due respect. Sure, exam formats must be practical, but practicality shouldn’t be the driving factor. We should decide on a fair format, then discuss with him, within that context, how to make things practical.

Posted by: Peters | Feb 11, 2008 5:44:48 PM

I'll just say...at least I never intended anyone to take anything I said personally nor do I view it as fighting. Everyone here is an adult and can debate without taking things personally.

Sometimes I just take the devil's advocate position because it's fun, as some of you know!

That being said, I DO think there are many more problems and frustrations associated with any type of oral exam format. My guess is that we'd have far more complaints and issues if we went away from what originally was a take-home, open book exam, changed to a paper, then to several papers, then to a paper + an oral exam. I'm starting to think Stephanie's "Legislation Survivor" idea might gain traction at this pace!

Posted by: Michael Wilt | Feb 11, 2008 5:52:52 PM

I don't think the product of our class (the grade) should colored by a process (an oral evaluation of a final exam or paper) with which the entire class has not had a prior experience. We have at least all had some experience with exams and writing assignments.

I also think that the product of our class must be created by a completely transparent process. If there is ever any doubt about what a particular grade was assigned, instant replay is available - we can look to the written work and there can be no dispute concerning what we said or did not say. We don't have to recall on fading memories of what was said during an oral examination.

Another element of the "instant replay" is no one can raise the spector of interviewer fatigue impacting the oral evaluations and their impact on our grades (either plus or negative). Breaks can be taken from grading papers when necessary. It's much more difficult to do the same for 35+ hours of oral examining (that's not including time for breaks). I'm a firm believer that process must be fair - the wife of Caesar must be above suspicion, so to speak.

That being said, I like any written option that spreads the grade. I personally prefer #2 but I do recognize that it could be more work than many in class have time for during the rest of the semester. And thus it could be very unfair to those people (a bad thing).

Ultimately I just want to process to be as fair as possible. Mr. Wilt's idea, I think, of spreading the grade over Berman's paper, maybe another one, and a final exam could work just as well.

Posted by: Tim Nittle | Feb 12, 2008 1:05:52 AM

Post a comment