Half my class is failing! What am I doing wrong?

After my first midterm, I am sad to report that out of 30 students, 15 got A’s or B’s and 15 got F’s. WTF?

I can without a doubt say that the F’s were achieved by total lack of effort, whether it was studying or actually the questions. Out of the 15 that failed, all of the students left more than half the test blank without even attempting the essay questions. Each essay was worth 20 points (3 of them) for a total of 60 out of 200 points. The students who tried to answer these questions but did not know the artist, name of the artworks, or the dates got at least 10 points out of 20. More than a few described what they saw in the work of art and received 16 out of 20 points.

Part of me thinks I made the test too hard. Part of me things these kids are total slackers who are phoning it in. Half my class is failing after 2 assignments. I am freaked out. Time to chat with Fran.