in science •  9 months ago

Something i was hoping never to have to do happened today. I knew it was going to happen at some point, but anyway I hoped it wouldnt.

I had to fail a student. I have been an external examiner in computer science at the university for a few years now, It pays well and i get to choose if i think i have the time every time so it is a fairly flexible second source of income.
It has its down sides too though. it is done in my spare time, and i need to take time of for reading the assignments. and sometimes, you may have to crush the hopes of some young student.
So far I have been in the fortunate position that almost all the exams I have graded was above average.
It may have something to do with the fact that a lot of students choose to not hand in anything if they are not sure they can pass, and since most of what I have done was written assignments with oral defense, I have not had to fail anyone yet.
that is until today.
This particular exam was a programming assignment. The students had to program a raytracer, but the focus was more on the software development than on the graphics part. I know both so I was asked to be the external examiner, and said yes. It has been a long day. More than 10 hours and tomorrow will be just as long. right now I am on my way home in the train. the grades was fairly spread from 12(A) to this guy who got a Zero.
The danish system is more or less equivalent to the american A-F system but we use numbers in order to be able to easier calculate means. so from A to F it goes 12 10 7 4 2 0 03 where 03 is only used if people doesnt hand in anything.
I do not enjoy failing anyone but on the other hand. by failing he gets the chance for a re-eaxamination which will usually give him a better grade than 2(the lowest passing grade) that cold have an impact on his final results and thus his chances of getting a job so , for my own part I would rather have the opportunity to redo the exam than get a 2.
I hope he took it the same way.

Thanks for reading this. Im EvilHippie, a compulsive creative and jack o' trades. If you want to know more about me, check out my introduction post here

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With great responsibility comes great destructive POWER.


I like the way you have turned the causality of this better, than the other way around.

Imagine how the people who flunked Adolf out of Art School felt ;-)

Let's hope this student goes on to better and more suitable pursuits.


haha. yeah. at least I feel bad about it. they do get at least 3 attempts though so they are not out yet, and even if they fail the course entirely, they can still just take another course and still get their degree. and lastly these guys are software developers. they will probably have wellpaying jobs even if they dont finish their education, so they wont have the time to become dictators, except suckerberg ofcourse. he is getting there.


Will you ever get the full story? Will you be able to find out if the student do try again??


probably not. not unless they ask me to be external examiner on the re-exam, and i have the time to actually do it.