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Final week for the spring semester is just over in almost all universities across the globe, the best and worst part of the final week is its the 'final week'. Best part is everyone gets a break after the final week and worst part for the student and not necessarily the professors is final exams and grades.

I just finished Grading, I am tired at this moment as I was grading continuously (almost without a break) for about 17 hours and totally about 30 hours in the last 3-4 days (will post some pics soon). But this is not the part that I dislike the most, often I enjoy grading.

Grading, as much as students dislike the grading, teachers and professors do hate some part of grading at least many if not all (at the least I know many including myself) though there are something enjoyable in grading. One of the enjoyable moment is when you see your student makes a perfect score.

When I say, I am not fond of grading, I do not mean just grading the exams, I mean including the results and reading through the answers carefully (though some of them are not even remotely related to the answer).

Exam and Grading is very important in academics as it sets the standard for learning and understanding the subject. Grading experience is like some sort of reading a novel except that you will always will not have a good ending. One will have joyous moments, saddest moments, a laughable and funny moments, interesting moments and horrifying moments.

Joyous moments are when the grader see some perfect score or a best answer that you have not presented or taught. I deal with mathematics so I often do, when I see a solution that I didn't teach or totally with different approach or different tool is used to solve the problem, that gives me a pleasure that I got across the understanding of the problem (or my passion of problem solving) to at least one student.

Graders will have funny moments too, an example of funny moment is just like what you have felt when you see the display pic of this post. Thanks to those who don't know the answer to the question but tries his/her best to answer the question in the best possible innovative and logical manner. Generally some tend to give them credit to such answers as in the picture, since the answer is logically correct (question should have properly worded). Having noted about having fun, this article is a nice joke read on grading, read here

One might have hopeless moments as you see answers that are not just incorrect but totally irrelevant. Actually some answers even bring the graders morality of teaching totally down to the extend he/she revisits the way he/she teaches.

Interesting moments are when the student writes about why he/she did not do well on that exam and by the way sometimes it was very horrible too. By the way, some of my friends make jokes that 'you better give the students good grade, otherwise you never know what happens...'

Easiest grading of all is grading multiple choice, especially grading using scantron machine. I personally and strongly do believe that multiple choice exam does not evaluate the student in the best manner. Show the work or open ended problems give an idea how does the class is doing and where the class needs to concentrated and the level of understanding of the students etc. I will later write about the various exams in a different post if permitted.

Last part of the grading is actually looking at how the class did overall, doing all the statistics, mean, median, mode and the normal curve etc. A general thumb rule on academics is that normally one will have a 'normal' curve :). Best part of the result is the curve being skewed to the right and the worst part is, curve being skewed to the left (with the assumption that 0% is on the left and 100% is on the right of the scale).

How did I feel as a student about grading?, will have a post later if permitted, if you have any interesting experience as a student or as a teacher, be my guest and feel free to share them here.

Disclaimer: Since i sound like grading the university exams, do not assume I am an OLD and BALD professor, I just passed my mid twenties 'recently' ('recently' is a subjective term though ;) ).

Thanksgiving sale, thats right, something that I used to be crazy about. Being a student and our first rule of thumb on finance is 'a penny saved is a penny earned' (still its the same though). I have bought many stuff for free (yes, thats right, almost absolutely free except for the postage on mail-in rebates) and collected 'treasures' (my room mates used to be sarcastic with me since some of them I hardly used, but hey, its free anyway remember).

The place I used to live didn't have any stores other than Walmart, Kroger and few other small shopping places, after all, it was a university town anyway. We used to plan few days before and get our traveling plans worked out (X commutes with Y, and A commutes with B, C and D etc -- since many of us will be going to our back home countries in december, many of us even rent the car and do the shopping for the loved ones back home).

Second thing on our list is to get a list of things to buy, spend hours around on the net and searching for deals and finalize the list with optimal price. And we share the shopping places, like X goes to OfficeMax, Y goes to Office Depot, Z goes to BestBuy etc buy 4 items of that, 7 items of this etc.

We get up early in the morning (i mean literally, we get up around 3:00 am, by the way, most of our room mates including me do not have the habit of getting up before 10am on the weekends) and drive for about an hour to the shopping places. Generally we reach around 5 am and we stand in the line in the freezing cold (as you see in the picture). Actually, in some places, people come to shops the day before evening and wait until the next day for early bird deals (you can even  get laptops for $200 once a year, if you are desperate, you wouldn't mind doing). We stay outside the shops for about an hour in the freezing whether to shop around.

Generally our credit cards will be used left and right and will be bleeding at the end of the day. Finally, we sense the fake joy of winning the friday sales and be proud and will be bragging around with our colleagues for couple of days.

This is my past semi-decade year of thanksgiving, and the place that I moved to recently have all the shops, you name it, its here. But, I lost the interest in that crazy shopping ( may be my friends are not here with me or I'm not a student anymore :) ).

I found out that it was a joyous moment to shop around with the friends that was one of the main motivation behind the continuous semi-decade blackfriday shopping march on a freezing weather and I lack that here.

By the way, I still bought few things in the later day though. And I read that this year there is a 7.2% increase in the average spending on thanksgiving day (see here) - hey after all, country in a recession and its understandable that people are making use of the deals.

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