Tuesday, 15 May 2007


Ok, so two hours before the deadline, I've handed in all my marking. Of course, that didn't stop them from asking me to do a few more late ones, but there is no immediate deadline on those so it's fine :)

Again, I would say there is definite improvement over last term. The first-years got an average mark of 65, which is 7 points above what is supposed to be "average." And considering I'm usually told I mark on the strict end, that is more like 10 points above "average." For the American translation of UK marks, add 20 points (65% UK = 85% US or a solid B.) Well done, everybody! (Except for you, Francis Quiggensworth, this is the last time I'll tell you: stop turning in assingments written in pig's blood!) Ehh... just kidding... it was actually cow's blood.

I would like to make a few "serious" overall comments though. Every generation has a name: There was the Greatest Generation, Generation X, and so on. I think this upcoming generation, if they are not called Generation Facebook, will instead be known as the Generation That Could Not Use Commas. Seriously, I don't think more than about 10% of the papers had a good grasp on how to use a comma. The quality of the reasoning and the research was excellent. The punctuation was atrocious. I'll take substance over cosmetics any day, but after enough punctual negligence, substance begins to suffer as well.

And finally, there are always typos and misnomers in any set of work, but some are more amusing than others. The one that made me laugh the most this time was a few papers on evolution of behaviour that spelled the word "ensure" as "insure." I chuckled more than once after reading things like "pine voles and meadow voles insure their reproductive strategies in different ways." Do the voles use different companies? Does the pine vole go down to the branch in town, and the meadow vole do it online from home?

Ehh, ok, perhaps it was not that funny after all.

Lines that were also fun (paraphrased): "Males on average have many more children than females." Hmm.. trying to think how that would work.

"Women are a species with a very particular reproductive strategy" This error crops up with the same worrying frequency as "Africa is a nation that..."

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