This is the second article in our Meet The Markers special report.
After a meeting the Department of Chemistry, we managed to interview Dr Bingley from the Department of Physics to find out what his department’s marking experience was like. In the precious few minutes before his flight to the Bahamas, our reporters learned that in fact the Physics marking took place during the paper itself.
Dr Bingley mentioned that the questions in the CT2 were significantly more “interesting” than the previous paper and focussed on testing a few topics in an in depth manner (semiconductor fans may not agree). He felt that this targeted approach was a crucial factor in decisively crushing any student who took the paper as physics students tend to be entirely unaccustomed to studying anything in depth.
After an MCQ section that he described as “doable” he says he was heartened to find that almost no students managed to complete the paper. He attributes this success to the long structured questions asking for qualitative answers, yet another Achilles heel for unsuspecting physics students.
The real kicker though, was the Data Analysis question that almost every student claimed to only understand as the papers were being collected. This, Dr Bingley felt, was what eventually brought even the strongest students to their knees. Dr Bingley claimed the question was especially perplexing in its convoluted attempts to explain how the machine students were to analyse was more efficient under non-ideal conditions, an idea that he claims full credit for.
It is rumoured that after the Data Analysis markers finished marking the proof and the single box in the table, they had to fill the void in their lives by marking the MCQ entirely by hand. This is expected to have a negative effect on student morale as the machine marked MCQ was one of the last sanctuaries for embarrassed physics students to hide their incompetence.