I gave my first test of the year last Thursday. The test was what I refer to as a big-ass test. Not a quiz, not a test, but a BIG-ASS test. You know, the kind you should study for. We spent most of the preceding week preparing for the big-ass test. We talked about study techniques and test-taking strategies until I was bored out of my mind and the kids assured me they were golden on the whole big-ass test thing.
Then we made a collage.
The tests scores were decent, but not great. I gave the tests back today and had the kids do a reflection on their approach to the big-ass test. I'm big on reflection. In fact, inability to reflect on and learn from experience is on my list of dealbreakers. It's right up there with dishonesty, bigotry, and living in some cold-ass state like, I don't know, maybe Michigan.
Anyway, this little reflection activity revealed a shocking truth: Most kids did not study!
I know, I know, it's hard to believe. I mean, I TOLD them to study, right? I even told them HOW they should study and devoted three or four class periods to helping them do said studying. But kids these days have their own ideas about test preparation.
Check it out:
Describe in detail what you did to prepare yourself for the big-ass test.
On Wednesday night I was semi-aware of the test. I downloaded a few songs and listened to them. I then looked at a videogame I wanted. I then talked on AIM for a little while. (grade = 82%)
There is no "detail" in describing how I "prepared" for the test, because technically I didn't. (grade = 67%)
I came to class with a pencil. (grade = 82%)
I did Zen meditation. I lit scented candles in my room. Then I turned my room into a geography shrine. I had to do 500 push ups for every time I answered a question wrong. (grade = 95%. Little bastard.)
To be fair, many of my kids did what passes for studying in some circles.
I read over my notes and read over the vocabulary sheet. Like you TOLD us NOT TO.And then there's this guy.
I opened my notebook and looked through all the papers that had terms on them.
I looked over all my reading quizzes.
I made little notecards of all the vocab but I spent more time making them than studying them.
Went to sleep early, woke up and ate a good breakfast.
I don't remember. (grade = 62%)And speaking of not remembering, I also had a kid who stared blankly at the reflection assignment and finally announced, "I honestly don't remember a thing about this test." "That's because you didn't take it," I said drily while standing under my National Sarcasm Society poster. " Oh shit," he said.
And my classroom may be free of hats, caps, do-rags, coats, cell phones, iPods and all other electronic devices, but I draw the line at profanity. Really. Because you can't give a big-ass test and not allow kids to say "oh shit" when they realize they missed it.