That Was Really Testing

| Toronto, ON, Canada | Learning | November 4, 2016

(I teach sixth grade math. At the beginning of the school year I always give my class a joke test to see if they are all capable of following instructions or if they might need extra help. The test clearly states that you must read the whole test before you start answering questions and I repeatedly tell my class this before they start. The very last part of the test says that they should only answer the first question. To emphasize that this isn’t a normal test, the questions get more ridiculous the farther you get. All but one student passed the test and I decide to talk to him after class.)

Me: “I wanted you to stay after class because of the results of the test you did today.”

Student: “This is stupid. We didn’t cover any of the subjects in class and you only gave us ten minutes to complete the test. There is no way you could have expected us to finish it.”

Me: “If you were paying attention you would have known to read the test before you started.”

Student: “That’s a waste of time. It’s better to just start writing right away.”

Me: “Did you get to the last question?”

Student: “No.”

Me: “Read it.”

(The last question is “Only do question #1”. Question #1 is “Write your name on all four corners of this page”.)

Student: “That’s not fair! I spent so much time on question #11 (measure the volume of your pencil)!”

Me: “Did you notice that everyone else took about two minutes to finish and none of them had a ruler or calculator out?”

Student: “I thought everyone else was too stupid to finish the test and gave up.”

(As the year went on I realized that the same boy could never pay attention. I had him referred to a psychiatrist but his parents refused to tell the school the results.)

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