Test. The most dreaded four-letter word in my vocabulary–dirtier than the other words in my repertoire. When I hear that word, my whole existence goes into overdrive. From taking them, creating them, proctoring them, or grading them, tests are the bane of my existence. I’ve never really been a good test taker, but there are some I am convinced are simply meant to drain you of the very life force you may still have in this cruel world of ours we like to call the “real world.” Math has always been the top-ranking of all detested tests, but I digress.
Last Sunday I took a practice test for an exam I am to take within the next four months. It was a full test and was conducted in simulated testing conditions, though in writing format. We–about 25 of us–were marshaled together into a conference room and began taking our test. All was well, until it wasn’t. The minute I heard the first crunch I knew it was not going to be a good day for me. Before I continue, I must clarify that this program has been the BEST experience I have ever had, by far, in ANY certification or professional program. There is no complaint here about its efficacy. What happened was simple. We were given breakfast and snacks (Chex Mix), but though we were told we weren’t allowed to eat our breakfast during the test, some certainly didn’t think it extended to the whole idea of not crunching THROUGHOUT the whole test. Mind you, it was a simulated environment and the test was only practice, but the fact remains that some people decided it was okay to eat Chex Mix during the test, which is where my nightmare began.
About two-and-a-half hours later, I was ‘done’ with my test. I checked it against the answer set we were given and got a 66 out of a needed 80 and possible 100. At that point I was simply spent. I spent the entire time hearing someone put Chex Mix, or maybe even ice, which they have and is better than Sonic ice, in their mouth and chew, crunch, and thereby obliterate any chance I had of focusing on my test. Maybe I am being too harsh, but the fact of the matter is that it was supposed to be good for all, and it was not good for me. What is worse is that I am not sure if the questions I got wrong were because I need to study further or because I simply could not ignore the constant crunching throughout the whole test. Just to clarify, I spoke to my advisor and I will be given a chance to retake the practice test in a quiet environment, an environment populated by only me. I am truly grateful simply because I need to know what it is I don’t so I can beef up on my studying and get it right. I hold no grudges against anyone, truly, and have been blessed to be a part of such a wonderful program, but for future reference, be considerate.
I teach students a great number of things, but I would like to think that before I teach them syntax, vocabulary, or reading comprehension, I teach them how to be considerate human beings within their environments. As a direct result of Sunday’s experience, I will be making my own changes in class to ensure that all students have a secure environment in which to take their test, do their work, and have some semblance of a feasible working environment.
Test. A four-letter-word that ails me to no end and sends my spine a’ tinglin’ exponentially, and not in a good way. They are what I dread more than most other things, and when I have to create/give/grade a test, I dread that, too. It’s an overall pain in my neck to give/take tests. Oy vey!