In my short stint as a Teaching Assistant so far who was handed the responsibility of conducting a lab session-cum-lecture followed by many unofficial tutorials, the common question is… ” ‘cher, what is the perfect report?”, ‘cher, do you have a past year report?, ‘cher, what do we have to include in the report?, ‘cher. how to get A+++ for the report? ”

Hmm… the funniest thing is, I had been emphasizing on the contents since Day 1, and in fact, over 4 sessions. So, theoretically, anyone who had followed the lectures and short sniplets of time that was given to me by the lecturer, would know what I was looking for. =)

So, for the few who do know about this blog, here’s the marking scheme revealed. This is just one of the many ways that different lecturers would approach. For me, I don’t believe in failing people and theoretically a lenient marker (well, at least more lenient than some that I know of – who thinks that C+ is good, B+ is better and A+ is excellent; how can a C+ be “good”, you must be asking? Ya.. me too), but that also means that it’s just a little tougher to get to the top (A+) – not impossible, just a little more effort will do. So, here’s how I mark:

  • if you hand in your assignment, you get a D – haha… just handing in only, regardless of content
  • if your assignment covers all the parts that is required, then you get a C+ – this is regardless of further explanations and reports
  • from here onwards, I work on an additive method – that is, for every part that you answered correctly, you get marks, for every part that you do not answer correctly, no marks are award and neither are marks deducted
  • for most people, this should give them something from a C+ to an B+ or A-
  • to get that A or A+, I’m looking for a few things
    • a full understanding of the assignment must be presented – that means, you include explanations of why you do certain things – the methods you used and the reasons for doing so
    • your personal/group observations of the entire experiment/assignment – what can you gather from this experiment/assignment – do you think it’s a good method/way/process? why?
    • surprise me! like, by handing in a blank assignment
    • bringing about an epiphany – to me, which is possible, since you spent more time on the project than I did solving it for answers myself
  • as for the optional question – it is really optional, so it’d be fair for those who took it literally and think that it’s optional – so what’s the optional question for? sorry, I can’t reveal this part =) it could really be nothing, but what I can say is, if you are good enough, you don’t need the optional question =)

Now that the scheme is out and my students have about 1 week to their due date, I hope this will answer their question about “perfect reports”. There’s no such thing as a “perfect report” because there are so many ways of doing things. As long as you show competency in what you are doing (or just smoking your way through effectively), then you’ll make the grade. I don’t believe in failing people because in university, it should all be about learning and applying, and generally I am quite generous about As and A+s, even if you challenged me in class.

There are no questions too silly and there are no answers beyond imagination =P

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