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A concerned member of the human race

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Turkey, Stuffing and Uniform Assessments

We are approaching our quarterly exams almost as quickly as we are approaching Thanksgiving.  I am truly thankful for one, even though I, myself, primarily provide the feast, and the other, I tolerate--even though it is handed to me on a platter.

When I reminded students of the dates of their exam, they invariably ask me if I will tell them the essay question in advance.  Since NYS doesn't believe in doing so, I hold the line.  Next, a student asks, "Are you making up the exam?"  Suspicions jumped to the fore.  If I tell him it's uniform, he can easily ask several periods of students (prior to his own) about content.  One year I rearranged question numbers so as to frustrate would-be cheaters.  As it turned out, I seemed to frustrate our department stat man more.   

So, how should I have answered the student's question?  I made my own essay.  I am thankful for that.  I had a voice, along with the rest of my colleagues, in offering suggestions for the multiple choice, but it is not my test.  It's not a bad exam and if I didn't care about trends that force me to relinquish control over my classroom and march along to someone else's tune, I might be happy to be handed a feast of questions on a platter.  Let me just tell the student not to worry about as silly a question as who made the test.   Just study.  Yet, whatever I tell students, the simple fact remains:  I would rather create a meal in my own kitchen and call it my own, be it test questions or turkey, fit to the tastes of my guests or, at the very least, what we have learned in our classroom.  Alas, I will have to wait until Thursday for that.  Pass the stuffing, please, and hopefully the students, too...

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