Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A Bad Place for a Doodle

Another AP test.  This one was English...

(There are two AP English tests.  One has something to do with literature and the other has more to do with writing.  The only thing I can retain is that one is for the seniors and one is for the juniors.  Today's test was for the juniors.)

At last week's history test I noticed one boy doodling instead of writing his essay.  After they finish a multiple choice section, the students get about two hours to write three essays.  Most of them were busily working, but this one boy was sitting there, drawing pictures all over his question booklet.

I wondered about it, but I didn't say anything to him.  This test is voluntary.  If he wanted to blow his chance at it, that was his choice.

But what I saw today was worse.

As I was doing one of my laps around the gym, I noticed that one boy was doodling nonsense--numbers, scribbles, and a few weird patterns.  Except this boy did all this in his answer booklet.

For the essay portion of the test, the students get two booklets.  One booklet has the questions.  They are allowed to make notes and use the booklet as scratch paper.  This booklet is not graded.  The second booklet is where they put their answers, and this one is seen by the graders.

The boy was scribbling all over the thing that was going to be graded.

I thought that was bad enough until I found a second boy doing the same thing.  (He drew a baseball diamond.)

Um, why?  Why would they spend the money?  Why would they waste their testing time?  (They were not done, or at least, they should not have been done as it was too early to have finished a decent essay.)

I had no answers.  At least the rest of the group took the thing seriously.


  1. I like how you wrote, "I had no answers," because neither did they, apparently.

    We can't make them all care. When I was a fifth-grade a system I taught Social Studies. When the state test came around and I'd see the feeble attempt at the essays when I knew they could write more, it was so frustrating.

  2. But these were AP kids. That's what gets me. They don't have to take the AP test. And if they want to take it, they have to pay for it.


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