I am first-year graduate student doing teaching assistance for an introductory calculus course.
The course is taught by four instructors, with 12 teaching assistants in total and I am one of them.
Each instructor has three assistant underneath him or her and I am associated with one of the instructors along with two other TAs.
At the end of each hour long tutorial, the TAs will conduct a 20 minute mini-test. Each test has two computational questions selected by the professor. The test questions are related to the lectures prior to the test, and the time prior to the test is for the TAs to review concepts in the lectures and do some examples and exercises from the book. The exercises are drawn from the same source as the test questions, but they are obviously not supposed to overlap in any way.
I don't have strong evidence, but I believe that the other two TAs (who have been doing this course for longer than me) are giving the student answers, and their students are outperforming those students in my section because of it.
What aroused my suspicion was when I graded the tests from their tutorials. We grade these tests on a rotation. There have been 9 tests so far, so at this point I have graded three of the tests.
What I found is that the students of their sections will give perfect, textbook solution like answers. All the students would make the exact same assumptions, almost as if all 30-40 students are copying from one another. In my section, the students struggle with their questions, sometimes not finishing them. When they do provide answers, there is a large variety of responses as expected of a calculus course. Therefore the students in my section have lower averages.
I don't believe that they are giving students answers directly. Some students would have sounded the alarm by now. What I suspect to have happened is that these TAs are doing the test questions during the tutorial and mixing them into the reviews. This would explain why so many students would follow the exact same procedure, yet still making some mistakes.
I wonder if these TAs are gaming the system. The system being the TA reviews at the end of the semester. These reviews are internal and are used to promote or select future TAs. I also feel bad for the students in my section. I feel that they are being cheated by the people who are supposed to instruct them.
I don't have firm evidence, but I fear that the professor is also in on it. When I first observed this large disparity between student performance, I mentioned to the professor. But there was no reply. Therefore I am afraid of talking to her about this. I am new to the school therefore I don't have anyone I can trust.
What should I do in this case?