The Talents We Test For…

She seems really pretty smug about that.

Today, I gave the final, culminating “multiple choice” test on “Catcher in the Rye.” In fact, on Wednesday and Thursday, the students needed to submit (digitally) an analytic essay in MLA format, on one of three topics. It is the final grade push, and this week has been worth a statistically significant amount of points toward the average.

Over half of my students did not submit the final draft of the essay. In fact, my final class of the day had less than ten submitted, with a class roster of about forty students. Given that I now run an auto-computing, digital gradebook that receives assignments directly…I can instruct is to simply zero out missing work. That had an effect on grades that could only be called “profound.”

During the day today, however, the Chrome Books have been open, and students have been taking the multiple choice exam. It is open book, and open notes, which sounds really easy. Except…few of the students maintained their notes, and as a result have to navigate 216 pages of possible text, in order to find the answers. It’s actually more frustrating that way, it seems. They KNOW the answers are literally in front of them…but the absence of notes, or studying (I even recommended web sites) makes the process time consuming and frustrating.

Obviously, this is what today’s art is about.

This week similar things happened with my students taking AP World History. Most of them didn’t study for the final, and “winged it.” That meant that most scores were abyssmal…with the exception of one student who missed a mere six items, completely wrecking the curve. A hard lesson was learned there….but not in time to affect preparation for the actual AP exam, which was also this week. Many of my students were very upset about it, but seemed honestly puzzled about my commentary related to preparedness. They seem of the mind that having simply attended class, and done much of the work, they will somehow automatically know the answers, as a result of having been exposed to them at some point.

It is a very different mind set than when I was a student.

I have been reading the manga “Naruto” this week. It is about a student ninja, who is not terribly responsible about his studies, and relies on moxie to sort of get through the various tests and challenges as he attempts to become a full fledged ninja. In the world of Naruto, there are apparently written “ninja exams,” which he is not very good at, primarily because he does not study. I’m enjoying it, and it seemed on point, which is how Panel One happened today.

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