Sunday, March 25, 2012

Dispatches From The Scoring Factory

Oh, hi there. So I haven't been around because I have a temporary job. I'm working on a project for Pearson Education scoring a 10th grade writing exam given to another state's students.

I call it "the scoring factory" because I'm being paid piecemeal--I make 79 and some infinitesimal portion of a cent for every exam I grade. I made $13/hr during training. The piecemeal situation works this way--you're guaranteed $10/hr, which means you'd be scoring about 13 pieces per hour. Do more and you make more--they estimate you should be able to make about $13 an hour pretty easily, and they want you to get your rate up to 20 pieces per hour.

I started the 12th, and went through the training but my scored weren't high enough to be hired on so I went home. They then called me back on Friday and offered me another chance at training, and if you pay me $13 per hour, I will do a lot of things. So back I went! And this time I passed, and am apparently doing so well I would have been eligible to come over and do overtime this weekend. If there's an opportunity next weekend, I'm taking them up on it.

This is supposed to run until about April 18th. I'm not planning to have or get anything done in the evening. It's pretty much get home at 6pm, feed the cats, feed myself, run the dishwasher, charge the iPod and turn in. I get up at 5am, and catch the first bus at 6:15am. From there I take the light rail, another bus, and have a 10 minute walk. We start at 8am and it ends at 4:30pm.

I'm pretty impressed with myself that I've managed to bring lunch and snacks, two books and an iPod every day--that's an achievement in organization for me. I've gotten compliments from my fellow scorers on my clothes(!) and the good questions I asked and comments I made during training. The people are pretty nice and friendly--after all, we're all a bunch of unemployed college graduates (and some retired/furloughed teachers) sitting at computer terminals clicking our way through 200,000 exams in an office park in Mesa.

As for content, I can't comment on that. But I really, really wish there was such a thing as a debate magnet school. Screw arts education--we need people who can communicate clearly and persuasively, both orally and in writing. Not to mention integrate research and facts well. Actually, when I'm reading these exams I'm sometimes reminded of Maude Hart Lovelace's tales of Betsy Ray's high school days, when she'd square off against Joe in the yearly essay contest which was like some sort of term paper writing marathon. Oh, the things they used to teach students back in the early 20th century!

Hopefully I'll have some time and energy to write bits in the next days. But I'm doing pretty well overall,even if I'm not here.

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