Monday, October 9, 2006

Where the Freshmen Take Their Tests

I have been at a regional commuter campus of a Big Ten school for 28 years; most of that time I spent teaching and advising freshmen. As I approached my dotage, I was fortunate enough to get out of the classroom and become the testing maven. How bad could it be spending short periods of time with freshmen? Let me count the ways.

Students fill out a short form with demographic information before testing. This year, one student could not spell her last name correctly, another student didn’t know if his first name was spelled with one T or two, and a third one had to call his father for his address because “We moved two months ago and I haven’t learned it yet.”

I had two mothers and one father following their little darlings into the testing room because this is all new to the little ones and they didn’t want them to be upset.

The tests are timed so I tell everyone they start promptly and to be on time. One student came in 15 minutes late and I told her she could take it later that day or reschedule. She decided to reschedule for the next week. The next week she came in 25 minutes late. I asked what’s the problem she was 15 minutes late last Tuesday and now this Tuesday she is 25 minutes late. Her face lit up and she said “ Oh, Tuesdays are when I take the garbage out.”