Quiz recap

May 14th, 2009 by Jack Styczynski

Well, my Craft II quiz, even with four fewer questions in the same allotted time, was obviously tougher than my Craft I quiz.

That wasn’t the intention.  In fact, I cut the number of questions in an effort to ease up somewhat and hope you could finish.

The high score was 11.5 out of 16, which would have been fine if everyone else followed closely behind.  Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case.  The second high score, achieved by three people, was 9.5.  And there were a few significantly lower than that.

Of course, I felt compelled to grade on a bit of a curve, but given some of the lower scores, I could only go so far.  The lowest passing score I allowed was a 7, which I assigned a C.

On my end, the number of blank answers suggests I still don’t have the time factor figured out well enough yet.  The hardest part of compiling a quiz is trying to balance allotted time, the number of questions, and their degree of difficulty.  Unless you leave an inordinate number of questions blank, that’s more my problem than yours.

That said, there were also a significant number of wrong answers…some from sources I didn’t even teach or post on the blog.  That’s not a time issue.  Combined with the fact that every single question was answered and/or sourced correctly by at least one person, I can’t blame myself for not relaying the proper sources.  I gave you the tools.  With blank answers, there’s always hope you would have eventually used those tools if you had more time.  For wrong answers, there’s little hope.

(Thankfully, I think everyone is beyond the “Wikipedia stage,” but I think too many of you are still addicted to Google as your main research weapon.)

Easiest question? Everybody got full credit on the Commerce Department query.

Most difficult?  Nobody got full credit on the CD immigration question, although our high scorer did get partial credit for knowing Infoshare Online was the place to go.  That surprised me since we touched on Infoshare in two separate classes this semester.  I figured the Namibia cell phones or Indy 500 auto prices questions might be stumpers, but we did have some full credit answers on those.  Actually, I figured the Factiva optional extra credit question would be the biggest stumper, and I was right about that, which is why I made it optional.  Only one person even attempted it, and got no credit.  I didn’t teach or post the material for that one on the blog.  It was in one of my NBC handouts that I e-mailed to you early in the semester.

As you move into your third semester and your official J-school RM instruction comes to an end, I also wanted to give you my brief take on the state of the profession.

While the market for reporters may be rough at the moment, it’s far worse for researchers, who’ve been getting slashed at a much greater rate.  The trend is to train reporters to do their own research.  I believe that in five years, or perhaps even sooner, there will be no “stand-alone” researchers at news organizations.  In fact, in the past month, I’ve seen my role at NBC change from researcher to trainer.  I do no research there anymore.  (I still do research at the Times.)  Once I have everybody at NBC “trained” in research, who knows what happens?

Anyway, that’s not to lament my own fate.  It’s to make the point that reporters probably won’t have people like me as a “crutch” much longer.  You’ll have to do your own.  And as somebody who cares about proper research in journalism, I want to see you do it well.

Make me proud!

Jack

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