Monday, April 14, 2008

Statistically speaking, I believe that sucked

Weekend went by in a blur, which sometimes is good (like, when you're having fun riding roller coasters) but in this case was not (like, when you're taking statistics mid-terms and working).

Thursday I had to break out my "Problem Student" cape (again) and rat out our instructor (again), who didn't seem to think it was important to provide grades or feedback for the first half of the course before students completed the mid-term. Um. No. I kinda need to know if I'm doing all this stuff correctly before I am tested on it. Call me wacky.

Assignments 2 and 3 were finally graded Friday, and Assignment 1 straggled in Saturday morning. Not sure what was going on there, but I received full marks so I'm not going to complain. Any more.

So we made Saturday the day of Statistics (I suppose I could call it Staturday, but that would be corny so I won't), which we decided to do because I had to work Sunday and we both hit that point where we figured we had studied enough.

And besides, we kicked butt on the assignments.

Part 1 of the Mid-Term involved solving a series of stats problems before logging on to the Mid-Term site. We were allowed to work with each other for that portion, but once we logged on we were on our own. We had 45 minutes from logging on to complete the exam. Upon entering we realized that the exam was as easy as the homework assignments had been, so we flew through and had data entered in about 10 minutes. Five more to double-check, then hit the submit key.

Instant grading in on-line courses means immediate verification of one's genius-ness. We each scored 100%. Cool.

We debated starting Part 2. Part 2 involved no pre-work, and collaboration was not allowed. It also required completion in 30 minutes. Problems were multiple guess, true/false and short answer.

Deep breath. Well, let's do it and get it done.

We logged in.

Holy. Crap.

22 questions in 30 minutes. First question has five parts. And requires, you know, actual statistics knowledge. ^&*$#.

I freaked immediately, managing to work myself into a hysterical fit of rage, disbelief and self-pity while also working the problems as fast as I could. It's hard to concentrate on statistics when the little voice inside your head is screaming, "Oh, my God! We are toast!" over and over again.

I heard M swear softly to himself across the table, and felt a little less like the only person on the planet who was facing impending doom and academic annihilation.

The next 30 minutes were quiet except for frantic typing and emphatic mouse clicking.

Every once in awhile M would quietly remind me to not get stuck on one problem, but move on so I at least had clicked an answer (a guess, more like it) to each question. I would usually respond with either a frightened yelp of ascension or the cry of, "I'm not even going to have a chance to go back and check anything I'm unsure of!" Which, at that point, was a lot.

Time ticked down and finally ran out, and we just looked at each other over our laptops. Our brains were sweating.

And so began the debriefing session.

"That kicked my ass!"
"I'll be lucky to score 50%."
"Maybe he'll grade on a curve."
"The first part should have been 30 minutes and this one 45!"
"I'm going to calculate our class grade as if we scored 50%."

I stomped around the dining room for a few minutes while M built a scoring spreadsheet and then we decided that even a 50% grade wasn't the end of the world (we'd both be carrying low A's with it), at least it was over, there was nothing we could do about it now and we didn't have to think about it any more.

Unfortunately, that part of the mid-term didn't have automatic grading, so we would have to wait until later to find out how badly our asses had been kicked.

Today, the grades were posted. We did considerably better than 50%. Whew! Yours truly scored 5.75 out of 6. I have a 99.64% for the class, and M has a 99.00%. M is convinced that our instructor was forced to grade on a curve. I prefer to think that we really are just that smart.

Or damn lucky.

No matter what it is, I'll take it!


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