Friday, December 3, 2010

Late to the Test

Before I begin, I need to explain a few things.  There are certain school policies that I haven't alluded to before, and I need to spell them out for this post to make sense.

  1. Tardy sweep:  Students who are not in class at the bell are not allowed in class.  They go to a place called tardy sweep.  They spend the whole period there.  
  2. Rally schedule:  Instead of having a full assembly, the school sometimes has a rally.  This lasts about 20 minutes and is scheduled between 2nd and 3rd periods.  Each period loses a minute or two.  Each passing period loses one minute (5 minutes instead of 6).  
  3. The current version of the computer-scored (using a #2 pencil fill in the bubbles) multiple-choice tests are now pre-printed with student names.  The computer can score and record the tests at the same time.  
Today, I covered a U.S. history class.  There was a bit of an overlap of students from the physics classes.  

Before school, I saw the teacher.  (I gave him a heads up that a prank was in the works.)  He explained the day's lessons.  3rd period, the A.P. class, was having a test.  80 questions.  Multiple-choice.  Due to time constraints, he puts the tests out on the desks before the class arrives, and while it was not mandatory, he told me that it might make things easier for everyone if I did the same.  

I had a seating chart.  I had extra time due to the rally.  It didn't take all that long to pass things out, especially when I didn't have students to trip over.  

As the students walked in, I told them to make sure they had their test.  Only two students had to swap, so I guess I did an okay job.  Then the bell rang, but much of the room was still empty.  

The campus is rather large.  This classroom was back-of-beyond.  It's the second to the last farthest room on campus.  It's a hike to get there.  That shortened passing period was a bad thing.  Some students just couldn't make it there in time.  

Many of them got there just after the bell.  Normally, I would send them to tardy sweep, but considering the circumstances, I let it slide.  It took them another minute to all arrive, and in three the room was silent.  They were all working on that test.  

After about five minutes, I went around and picked up tests off desks where the students hadn't arrived.  I looked at the three names, and I was about to go and enter the attendance when another student showed up.  

Ah, what to do?  As it turned out, she was in the band, and they performed at the rally, so I let her in.  A minute later a second student showed up.  

I looked at the third test.  What were the odds that this girl would show up?  I was just about to give up and input the attendance when she did arrive.  She was wearing a cheerleader uniform, so I knew what kept her.  

I was kind of worried as to whether they'd finish the test.  They did.  Many finished with ten minutes to spare. 

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