My favorite test from last year

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(Please pass this on. This feels like one of the truest posts I’ve written in months.)

Alas, this student did not benefit from divine intervention. He failed. The test did not get him down, though. You can classify this kid as “resilient.” Or you can classify him as “oblivious.” Pass or fail, he always has a great attitude. I don’t know if that’s good or bad, frankly.

I did not write the test. It was written by an East Coast consulting firm. I tried furiously to teach the underlying math, but that math was about three years above that boys academic operating level. It was years above the operating level of every student in that class.

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Eduhonesty: I remain genuinely flummoxed. Should this boy feel bad? No! That test was an unfair test. Frankly, any test not specifically taken from appropriate instruction should be considered unfair. No one should ever see unfamiliar material on a classroom test. No teacher should be forced to regularly give tests with unfamiliar material, as I was throughout last year. We did not have the time to cover all that material. You can’t cram three or more years of instruction into weeks or even months. If you could, all of America’s academic problems would have been solved decades ago.

Still, I find that boy’ cheerful lack of concern disquieting. He ought to care. I think. Or should he? If someone kept giving me graduate physics tests that I could not understand, my healthiest response might be to hand my problems to a higher power while psychologically exiting the testing scene.

What, I failed again? Oh. Did you know that (I forget who) actually likes vegetable pizza? Can you believe that?

That was my boy, a master of non sequiturs and subject changes. He always had a smile. In truth, I think discussing pizza preferences after an epic testing fail makes perfect sense. If you ever read this, Skater Boy, I know you will recognize that test. For what it’s worth, I loved having you in class every single day. I am sorry about all those tests. I was not sure if I was ready to quit so I wanted to try to hold on to my job.

I really had no clue what to do. No one was giving me any options. No one was listening to my protests or objections. I tried my hardest anyway. I am sure you know that.