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Year View| Summary| Highlights| Month View| Monday 29 November 2004 (Day View)

29.11.2004Monday 29 November – Remark Request & Flights Booked

Bronwen’s Dad dropped me into the city, where I made my way to uni via Hungry Jack’s, and hung out in the library for a while, feeling sleepy and waiting for half past eleven.
I went and saw Dr. Carrington to find out why my COMP2801 marks were so bad. It seems I’ve been caught out by a mix of mistakes, ambiguities and assumptions. Submitting for a remark involves getting a signature from the head of school, who was not there at the time, so I had to leave my remark request form with his secretary.
  It seems my UML diagrams are fine from a UML perspective – any problems with the diagrams are with my interpretation of what was required and some assumptions I made which differ from assumptions made by the markers but not explicitly stated, and it is on this basis (along with some other issues) that I have requested a remark. As an example, when designing the system for the first question, I did literally as stated – designing a system in such a way that I felt it fit within the given information, was logical, and was how I would build the system – including making (and stating) some assumptions. Unfortunately, the system was apparently precisely specified (although clearly not being so) and there was no room for assumptions such as those I made – and the assumptions I made (which I believe were reasonable and would have worked fine) had a flow-on effect causing me to lose marks on all aspects of the first question. I believe if I make and state an assumption and then lose marks due to contradicting assumptions made by the marker (or exam writer), that unless those assumptions are explicitly stated, my assumptions must hold. To generalise this even further, I do not think I should lose marks due to anything other than that clearly stated on the exam – any assumptions made by anyone during the writing or marking, if not stated, should not be assumed to be inferred, and should not cost anyone marks. Furthermore, I believe my answer satisfied all the required information, except that which was inferred. In a way I have misunderstood the question (as it was meant to be understood), but on the other hand, the question was written in such a way that I believe I can argue my interpretation of it is as valid an interpretation as anyone else’s. As Dr Carrington said, it was “intended” to mean something other than what I understood it to mean – which I believe is an unacceptable reason to lose marks.
  I also appear to have lost marks for directly paraphrasing the set text’s description of an Observer pattern. I find this highly unusual, as if the text we are given is insufficient in an exam, what else are we supposed to have used?
  However, I lost the majority of my marks for not directly tying my argument about whether there was an Observer pattern present in the given code in the second question or not, with the given code. I argued on a higher, more abstract level – I was supposed to have compared the actual code, including its method names and so forth, with the code I used to demonstrate an Observer pattern. In rereading the question, it does indeed state that such a direct correlation should be made, but I feel the marks I’ve received for this question are extraordinarily harsh. I got three out of twenty five marks for what I feel is a valid, justified answer, but unfortunately one that does not use specific names of methods or classes in the given code. I understand that the question asked us to refer to the code in a detailed comparison with our example Observer pattern, and that this infers that I should have used actual class and method names, or line numbers of the given code, or something similar. Unfortunately, at the time I felt that simply referring to the code itself, rather than line by line or method call by method call (as in “The code given in Question 2”) was suitable. I understand this is not what was required, as Dr. Carrington explained to me today. My issue is that I feel my answer still demonstrates the required knowledge, although not in the precise format required, and as such should receive some marks – particularly given that there is slight ambiguity in the phrasing of the question, where the phrase “detailed comparison” is taken to mean that one must provide detail about the differences or similarities between the two pieces of code being compared, making reference to its method calls, class names and so on, rather than a detailed description of why one does or doesn’t think the code exhibits an Observer pattern as compared to the definite Observer pattern (which is what I tried to do). This may be obvious to some, and in retrospect, it seems a reasonable assumption to make although it is still an assumption that’s not clearly stated as such. I don’t want to appear too picky – I just feel that the marks I got for this question were unjustifiably harsh; especially taking into account the logic I’ve used to arrive at my answer.
  Unfortunately, there’s no provision to argue my case (other than a short few line reason for why I want a remark), so it appears unlikely that the markers will even know the way I saw things or why I did what I did, meaning I can’t argue ambiguities and unstated assumptions, and making a positive remark much less likely. This is the only exam that I recall having this problem with, and judging from the comments from others on the newsgroups, I am not alone. I achieved my expected results for the other three courses I did this semester, without having any problems in their exams, although I disappointingly didn’t achieve the seven I’d hoped for with COMP2502 and had some issues with its last assignment. This has made me wonder whether I will even bother aiming for high marks in future, as there is really no long-term benefit, and issues such as this mean that regardless of how well (or unwell) I may know a course, my marks will just as likely be rewarded based on other issues.
  Despite the harsh and perhaps vitriolic way I talk about some aspects of uni, I’m really not as concerned as it may sound – it is a relatively easy matter to complain and fault find in an attempt to gain extra marks that I feel are justified, so I do.
I went home via Govinda’s, and should be packing now, but am writing this instead. I feel quite tired, so I’ve just finished off two litres of Coke, in the hope that will give me the energy to finish packing. I’ve already done my washing and booked my flights – only packing and cleaning is left.

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