Wednesday, August 31, 2011

F in Exams Book Give Away - Because It Made Me Think

Driving home the other night my 2 year old daughter was saying goodnight to the animals we passed.  "Goodnight cows.  Goodnight horsey."  Just one of those moments.  Then she told me proudly, "Mommy, the chickens sleeping."  I, knowing that she loves making clucking sounds, asked her "What do the chickens say when they sleep, Thea?"  Her answer?  "HOOOOONK!"  And with that my daughter failed her first test ever.

In honor of my continued fight against inane tests that serve no purpose other than to seemingly torture students, I am excited to be giving away "F in Exams" by Richard Benson as part of their blog tour for the book.  This collection of funny and strange student answers on actual exams will at first make you laugh, and then hopefully make you think.  All you have to do to enter is to share your funny/sad story about tests or exams, or even your opinion and leave me some way to contact you.  The giveaway will run from today to Sunday the 4th, where a winner will be selected.

From the book:



I have to admit my favorite was the following exchange:
"Claire was well prepared for her interview.  Explain how Claire may have prepared herself for the interview."
Answer:  had a bath and put on her lucky pants.

Ahh yes, the lucky pants, who hasn't had those.


So I am happy to be part of the giveaway for this book. Laugh about it, cry about it, but read it and think about it.

Tomorrow the give away continues, so head over to It's Not All Flowers and Sausages to enter there as well.


4 comments:

Emily said...

Describe the organ systems in your body. "The three kinds of populations are the people in your town, the dandelions and the sow bugs"

I so wish i could attach a picture, because I'm a braille teacher and this was all written in braille. I laughed right out loud when I was translating this kids test.

photomatt7 said...

Here's what I wrote in May:

"Several faces looked back at me from the tiny desks, big pencils in small hands, silently pleading for some kind of assistance in completing the tests’ tasks. They could see their classmates managing to put answers down, and they looked from them to me as if to say, “Why can’t I do that?” One or two students raised their hands and said, “I don’t know what to do.” All I could do was silently point them back to the test. As they struggled furiously to sound out words they didn’t know using letters they couldn’t remember, they went looking for the alphabet chart (which, by rule, was covered). They looked at me with watery eyes. They were powerless and so was I. Their academic world as they’ve known it since September was turned askew with no apparent reason other than me saying, “Just do the best you can do.” What do words like that mean when you feel the best you can do is not very good at all?

Yet, we test."

The rest of the blog is here: http://photomatt7.wordpress.com/2011/05/22/yet-we-test/

tcash said...

I have the luxury of working in an environment where numerical grades are not used, and I am able to limit the number of tests and quizzes to a bare minimum. Students and teachers use rubrics and - get ready for this - ongoing dialogue (what a concept!) to discuss progress and growth with students. That said, every year, twice a year, standardized tests waltz in and upset this equilibrium. We do 1 writing test (ERB) and 1 Reading/Wriitng/Math test (Terra Nova).

Standardized tests have always perplexed me. Particularly in a setting like ours, where more that 70% of our students are not American... When students are given a writing prompt asking them to describe a visit to a pet shelter - and most of them have never even seen the inside of a pet shelter, there is little to do but smile weakly and say "Do your best - your results will not change what I already know about your abilities" (though, to be frank, it can be quite amusing to read stories about pet shelters housing llamas, chickens and venomous snakes!). I tell them that it is our school program that is being evaluated first and foremost, and I do what I can to make the day as fun and light hearted as possible - we play silly games to silly music during breaks, all the while my heart is silently apologizing to them over and over for the ordeal I am putting them through. And, because they are fantastic kids, better people than most, they put their game face on and give it their honest best. Standardized test time is the only time of the year when I feel like a fraud, when my actions run countercurrent to my philosophy. It is the only time when I cannot be completely genuine with my students, and tell them how I really feel.

This year, I am toying with the idea of reading aloud a book I only recently discovered (don't know how it escaped my attention) called The Report Card, by Andrew Clements. This is a book that tells the story of a gifted student, Nora, who exposes some of the myriad shortcomings and negative effects of tests by purposefully doing poorly and sending the adults - parents, teachers, administrators and counselors all a-tizzy. It is only when they stop looking at the data, and begin a true conversation with Nora that they really discover what an extraordinary child she is.

It's time to drop the charade. If schools are to prepare kids for real life, it's time we stop subjecting our students to contrived measures that may or may not be commensurate with what they've learned, may or may not be formulated in ways that allow students to express themselves in modes that suit their learning and expressive styles, and certainly will not tell me, as a teacher, anything I don't already know about how best to help each child move forward. Like the librarian in The Report Card, it's time to be honest with myself and the students about how I feel about the tests they are required to take, and help them, like Nora, make the best of it and move on.

Larry McMillan said...

Good Afternoon, Pernille Ripp my name is Larry Demetrius Mcmillan. I am a current student at the University of South Alabama in Professor John Strange EDM 310 class this semester. I found your blog on "F in Exams Book Give Away -Because it Made Me Think" amusing. I was thinking to myself what my little nephew says when I test or quiz him on things around him. But the picture is hilarious.Thank you for the blog.

 

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