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February 21st, 2007

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06:16 pm - Tips for the TA
When you have a class of 150+ students, sometimes you're lucky enough to be given a TA, or Teaching Assistant, to help grade the papers. The TA's are usually graduate students in the department who get a small stipend and/or a tuition break for the privilege of grading 150+ freshman math exams. Sometimes, TA's are given training, and sometimes, not so much. And so, today, I would like to offer these important safety tips for anyone thinking of becoming a TA.

The professor's answer key for the exam, given to you by the professor, is not another test to be corrected.

If, by some chance, the professor's answer key appears to have a mistake in it, do not mark it wrong.

And if you do choose to "grade" the professor's answer key, and mark his or her answer wrong, do not then go on to blithely mark all 150+ of the students who got the same answer as the professor's key wrong.

The correct response to this situation is to find the professor, and say, "Excuse me, but I noticed this and it seemed to be wrong. Is this a typo?"

The correct response is NOT to take the initiative to assume that the professor who has taught this course for decades is wrong and proceed to mark one hundred and fifty plus freaking tests wrong without bothering to check.

I hope this clears up some issues in expectations for a TA.

(4 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:February 22nd, 2007 04:16 am (UTC)
[User Picture]
Date:February 22nd, 2007 04:08 pm (UTC)
*rolls around laughing*

We don't grade exams. That's what we have undergrad graders for ;-)
[User Picture]
Date:February 22nd, 2007 04:14 pm (UTC)
Dude, they're lucky to have a TA. Undergrad graders probably cost more.
[User Picture]
Date:February 22nd, 2007 04:18 pm (UTC)
Yeah imagine my rage when I found out that the undergrad TA's for Physics 101 get paid more than us grad student TA's in Astro. We're the School of Physics and Astronomy, but that doesn't keep astronomy students from getting the short end of the stick.

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