Monday, May 19, 2014

Missed the Bold Print

In the midst of the sweltering heat last week, I got to help proctor a couple Advanced Placement exams. In the gym. Which had no air conditioning.

Proctoring an exam is not hard work otherwise. I'm an extra set of eyes in the room, and I help pass out and collect materials. AP students don't usually need any assistance. I'd get called over if a student needed to use the restroom or if one wanted to know how much more time he or she had left.

One boy called me over. There was a problem with his test. One of the questions had been repeated on two pages in a row.

As he explained the situation, I noticed in bold print above the question it said: This question has been reprinted for your convenience. Or something like that. I think I'm getting the exact wording wrong. But the gist is correct.

The boy was concerned that he didn't have enough space to write his full essay answer. He asked if he could just continue with the essay he had started on the previous page. I think. I wasn't really listening.

I put my finger over the bold print, pointing. Once he stopped talking he read what I pointed out.

"Oh."

So, this just goes to prove, even students who are taking college credit courses don't pay attention to all the details.

Of course, he was the only one to ask.

16 comments:

  1. Tests just aren't fair in many ways. They put people on edge, make them nervous, etc. That poor student probably had elevated blood pressure due to the stress of performance. I've been there, and I hate tests. Some people can perform well on tests but are horrible students. I wish there was a better way to evaluate learning.

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  2. Someone posted on Twitter that they were looking for volunteers to proctor exams for five hours. No pay, and they weren't allowed to read a book or entertain themselves during those five hours. That sounds like a position that should pay to me!

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    1. Well, I did get paid for this day. I agree. It would be some kind of favor to do gratis.

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  3. Students tend to make silly mistakes in exams, no matter how hard they try to be careful.
    I didn't like proctoring exams very much. It was very boring.

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    1. I guess I'm being too harsh on him.

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  4. I remember taking my AP exams. They didn't exactly go well, and I didn't even have sweltering heat to blame.

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  5. Who pays attention to instructions during an exam? (Probably not someone who will do well.)

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  6. Oh this brings to mind something that was handed out when I was a kid. It had a whole bunch of questions but the first was saying to read everything first before starting the test. I and almost all the rest did not do that. After yelling out my name 3 times, getting up and twirling 3 times and all the rest, the last question said you do not have to do anything but sign your name. I think only 2 people read it all first and I was not one of them:)

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  7. I'd chalk it up to the stress of the testing. But that kid needs to learn to cope with that.

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    1. Stress of the situation didn't even occur to me. Well, I wasn't in the hot seat (figuratively speaking).

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  8. LOL, I have to admit I had to read this twice to get it; it is probably good I was not taking that test :)

    I remember one time working at a doctor's office and the nurse there was trying to make a 50 packets of something, I think they were 5 pages in the packets. She was laying down the papers one by one on the table into 50 packets and then her plan was to staple them together. I showed her how to keep the 5 papers in separate groups and gather them together and staple them rather than 50 packets (make sense?) So even with all her knowledge as a nurse, she had trouble with the practical.

    It cooled down nicely here; it is almost cool :)

    betty

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  9. He was probably nervous. It sounds like the sort of dumb thing I'd do Liz. Jumping the gun without reading instructions.

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    1. At least he noticed the question was the same. There is that.

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  10. I agree with the rest of the commenters. He probably was nervous. But, I bet he learned something from the experience and perhaps will pay closer attention next time.

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  11. My husband works as a University lecturer. He has been marking exam papers and coursework this past week and been getting very frustrated with his students because the majority of them could have got significantly higher grades if they had just followed the instructions.

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    Replies
    1. What is it about following directions that some people find so hard?

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