What is this handbasket we’re in, and where is it going?

A for effort for F bomb

A British student was awarded partial credit on a standardized high school exam for simply telling the test prompt to “Fuck Off.” According to the grader, he would have awarded the student additional credit had said student bothered to punctuate his narrative. While the insightful essay only scored two points out of a possible 27, this raises some serious questions about the nature of high school exam essays and the people who grade them, as well as the state of public education.

The question that sparked this 2-point wonder response was a simple “describe the room you are sitting in.” I’m not so convinced that telling the prompt to F’ off is really addressing the question, as it is not a description at all, but an exclamation. Although, I suppose I have to side with the grader and give him some credit – a high schooler who can spell is hard to find.

I wish I had known that a simple two word, expletive-laced response on a high school standardized examination would have netted me a few points. Because that’s how I felt about high school standardized exams. Seriously though, awarding a student any amount of points for telling a “describe the room you are sitting in” prompt to copulate off is pretty silly.

At some point public education has gone dreadfully askew, three sheets to the wind and/or hopelessly awry. It seems that it’s ok if you are unable to read at a ninth grade level upon entering high school (as has been proven numerous times by the students going into my mother’s ninth grade class). Or to spell. Or to compose basic sentences, complete with subjects and verbs and goblins. Or, probably, to understand fractions and multiplication. And awarding points for not addressing a prompt is just the frosting on the cake.

The good news is that this happened in Britain. Here in the states, that crap doesn’t fly. You have to write your name at the top of the paper to earn your free points ’round these parts.


June 30, 2008 - Posted by | Diatribe

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