What Would You Say?

OK, true story.

I bought a piece of technology the other day and went to the vendor website to register it for warranty purposes.

The submission form had the usual details – looking for your name, address, gender, age (via birthdate), level of education, profession, income, and a bunch of other things.  I was about to say “I’m outta here” when I noticed the red asterisks.  Only the country was required.  I’d already given up email address as a login but I could leave the rest blank. 

I was prepared to pay for the stamp to send in the printed registration card!

As I reached the bottom of the form, the last question was:

I had to ponder over this.

Does it help tech support if I had to call for assistance? 

If I say “Excellent”, would they say, “OK drop to a terminal prompt and type the following command line”.  If I say “Very Bad”, would they say “OK, move the little mousey dealy until it moves over the button and it turns green and then click the push thingy on the left”.

The more I pondered, the more curious I got.  Do they appreciate that an “excellent” computer literate person elects to purchase their product?  Or, do they make things so simple that even a person who self-identifies as a “very bad” computer literate person can understand it?

There was no rubric or indication of what the criteria was for any of them. 

Certainly, those in education know that, no matter what your expertise, there’s always something to learn.  What would a person who works in IT say?  What would a 10 year old who knows everything say? 

Then, it hit me.  There’s a reason why rubrics don’t have five levels.  “Fair” seemed to be a nice level to compromise with.  No serious commitment either way.  No ego in choosing excellent; no beating yourself up by admitting very bad.

Without criteria, what would you have answered for the company?  Set aside the company for a minute and do a self-evaluation.  Would you give the same answer?

Author: dougpete

The content of this blog is generated by whatever strikes my fancy at any given point. It might be computers, weather, political, or something else in nature. I experiment and comment a lot on things so don't take anything here too seriously; I might change my mind a day later but what you read is my thought and opinion at the time I wrote it! My personal website is at: http://www.dougpeterson.ca Follow me on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dougpete I'm bookmarking things at: http://www.diigo.com/user/dougpete

5 thoughts on “What Would You Say?”

  1. Just a minor correction to your otherwise excellent (as always) post…

    Rubrics can have five levels. In fact, they can have any number of levels the instructor wants or needs to clearly define the assessment criteria.

    Here in Ontario we are encouraged to use a four-level rubric because of the four-level achievement chart and our wanting to define everything as “level” 1 to 4.. This has become so pervasive here that we get our own Wikipedia page for it:


    As a comparison, here’s the “standard” rubric page on Wikipedia:


    And for the rebels out there that want to use a five-level rubric, here are some excellent criteria you could use as a starting point:

    Click to access Research_Paper_Rubric_Guide.pdf

    p.s. For my computer literacy rating, I define myself as “good” because, as you correctly state, there’s always something to learn…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I would say excellent or course. When I got my first secondary school teaching job the department chair gave me a copy of the student text and said she didn’t have a teacher edition. I told her that if I needed the have the answers handed to me they’d have hired poorly. Yeah I thought I knew it all.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Peter, you are, of course correct. I guess I did so much program department assessment stuff with four levels that I have that fixed in my mind.


  4. So, Alfred, is this where the expression “Alfred Thompson wrote the book on Computer Science” originated?


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