The Chinese Fire Drill

Saturday, July 23, 2011

McCarthy's Law #8

(c) 2011 Donovan Wheeler


Atticus Grinch said...

I worked as an essay scorer as one of my first "real" jobs straight out of college. The job required a college degree, and I had to pass a test just to qualify for the training. A mob of us were crammed into one of those hotel convention rooms and given scoring training, and then we were given several tests to score. We got the $10/hr job if we scored a certain percentage of the tests "correctly." It was an excruciatingly boring job, mainly because EVERY SINGLE STUDENT wrote the exact same crap in the exact same formula. The company used to take time out to have everybody score the same essay to find out if we were in sync with our scoring. The most memorable of these essays was brilliant. The student didn't follow the arbitrary essay formula, but he was clearly a creative thinker who made an incredible argument (and used the word "ennui"). The "correct" score was a 6, but the scorers' scores ranged from 1-6, with 6 not being the majority score. I quit soon after (not because I was participating in cheating Florida test-takers, but because the job was so intensely boring).

Donovan Wheeler said...

One of the best papers any student ever wrote for me was an argumentative paper suggesting that we should drop the letter "C" because all it does is imitate either the "S" or the "K." To drive home her point, she wrote the entire paper without using "C" at all. It was clever, hilarious, and it spoke volumes in terms of subtext regarding a host of issues: lingustic, social, and more.
I wonder how such a paper would run through the standarized essay format.
Thanks for commenting. I appreciate your insight and your willingness to be candid.