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Needs To Re-Examine Examination Methods

| Learning | June 18, 2015

(My 10th grade world history class is known for having very long exams that students struggle to complete within the time given. These exams have a multiple choice portion and an essay portion, and we are told we can bring one index card full of notes, but it was never made clear whether that card can only be used for the essay portion or for the whole exam. As we enter the room, we see that we have a substitute teacher.)

Classmate: “Hey, you’re supposed to put away your index card before the multiple choice part.”

Me: “Are you sure? I thought we could use it for the whole exam.”

Classmate: “No, you can’t! That’s cheating!”

Me: “I don’t think it is.”

(A brief debate ensues regarding when we’re allowed to use the index card, but since our regular teacher is absent, we can’t ask him. Then the bell rings and class starts; we’re all eager to receive our exams and begin.)

Substitute: “I’m supposed to give you this exam today.” *he gives me some kind of look* “But first I’d like to tell you a story. A story about… cheating.”

Classmate #2: “Can we just have our exams? We don’t have a lot of time, and they’re very long—”

Substitute: “—There was once a man. A man who cheated.”

(The substitute then tells a 20-minute story about someone who cheated and regretted it throughout life, all the while looking in my direction. At the end of the story, he looks at me to see what impact his story had. It’s clear that he’s not going to let us start our exams unless he feels that he taught a potential cheater a lesson.)

Me: *holds index card above my head and rips it up*

(The substitute smiled and distributed our exams. No one was able to finish during the class period, and everyone failed.)

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