Testing – Testing

Oct 21st
Posted by shambo  as Education, Humor, Language, Science & Math, Sex

Math Quiz question # 3

Let me say this about that.

When I was a student, I hated tests, quizzes, exams, reviews, oral presentations, mid-terms, finals, thesis, dissertations, and any other sort of prodding and probing of my cognitive capability.  I understand the need for instructors to assess the level of knowledge their students have retained from their classes, but there must be a better way than a freakin’ TEST.

A test doesn’t really assess the level of knowledge you have retained – it assesses your ability to recall what you have been taught – when put under enormous pressure.  Screw-up on the test, and it is immaterial what you really know.  What matters is…    what you can recall under pressure.

This is the reason that on occasion, during a particularly important test, a student will crack and do something really stupid.  During an examination, in which the student MUST do well, he will sometimes come across a question that he has no idea how to answer. In these situations, he may just say “screw-it” and answer the question with the first thing that pops into his head.  I know – I’ve even done it myself.

A friend of Mrs. Shambo recently sent her a collection of documented “screw-it” student responses from elementary and middle-school tests.  Of all the exam answers she sent, I found the most creative to be the answer of an 8th grade inner city student to the following English test question:

Question:  “Define the word  ‘Benign’ .” 

Answer:  “What you be after you be eight.”

Having spent most of my youth in engineering school, I am all too familiar with the “screw-it” answers to complex technical questions.  As it turns out, this phenomenon is not limited to engineering or the sciences.  A professor I knew, who taught an Eastern Philosophy course at Yale, told me about a student who answered the following question in a “F-inducing” manner.

Question:  “If you knew you had only one hour to live, how would you spend it?”

Answer:  “I would spend it in this class, as every time I’m here, it seems like an eternity.”

“Screw-it” answers are also not limited to the hallowed halls of the Ivy League.  One of the most brutely honest answers to a difficult question I ever came across was from a 9th grade biology exam at a Chattanooga, Tennessee junior high school.

Question:  “The early sexual maturity of children – and – the subsequent shortening of childhood, has been caused by __________.”

Answer:  “The girls in the 10th grade”.

In Atlanta, Georgia, the predominantly female Agnes Scott College, is only a few miles from the predominantly male engineering school Georgia Tech, so it is not surprising that the each school uses the other as a pool of dating candidates.  In a sex education class at Agnes Scott, the final exam included the following question – and – remarkably prophetic response from an obviously date-weary young lady.

Question:  “Name the most effective method of birth control.”

Answer:  “Marry an engineer.”

People from Asia, and particularly people born in Japan, are well known for their inability to properly pronounce the English letters “L”  and “R”, often reversing the pronunciation of each letter.  There is a little known story about General Douglas MacArthur who was stationed in Tokyo in the years following the Japanese surrender in WWII.  MacArthur, who was serving as the chief administrator of the Allied Force occupation of Japan, decided to resign from the Army and return to the U.S. to run for president of the United States.  On his departure, the Japanese staged a parade through downtown Tokyo in honor of MacArthur and to wish him luck in the upcoming election.  A huge banner was constructed and hung over the main street on the parade route that was to say:

“General MacArthur – We Pray For Your Election”

Unfortunately, the Japanese difficulty with the letters “L” and “R” produced an infinitely more entertaining banner that read:

“General MacArthur – We Play For Your Erection”

A young Japanese exchange student at Duke University fell prey to the deadly L” and “R” conversion on the final exam of his sophmore anatomy course:

Question:  “Describe the condition of vericose veins.”

Answer:  “Being in close proximity to veins.”

And, that’s all I have to say about that.



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