There is something about taking a test that makes kids ask and say the strangest things. One of my favorite (read: most irritating) student habits is when they ask, “Is it multiple choice??? Is there matching?? Is there an essay???” as I’m handing out the paper. Gee kids, if you wait FIVE SECONDS you’ll find out. I gave a quiz last week that was separated into four sections, the first three were various types of character and style matching questions and then the fourth part (three questions) were free response.
After handing out the papers and going through the directions, one of the students gasped and said, “What are these???” The young man next to her said, “They’re…free response questions.” She looked at me and asked, “Do I have to do them?”
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I used to think that test days were the easy days. Once your test is made, no lesson to prepare, no PowerPoint to organize, a light day overall. And then four years ago I started teaching ninth grade. The questions, oh the questions!
An example: a question on a quiz was, what is irony? The definition had been written on the board and discussed during class in the days before. A student called me over:
Student (pointing to the question and looking up at me expectantly): I don’t remember the answer.
Me: Um, ok?
Student: But what should I do?
Me: Try to remember? The definition was on the board and I said it would be on the quiz.
Student: But I forgot. Can you give me hint?
Student: But I forgot.
Another question asked students to find examples of a metaphor in a poem. During the period, several students called me over:
Student (pointing to a phrase in the poem): Would this be a metaphor?
Me: Well, that’s kind of what I’m asking you so…
Student: Come on, you really can’t tell me?
I think the only logical solution would be to just stop giving tests. I’m sure the kids wouldn’t complain.
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