Your Last Standardized Test Ever

Are you upset about all the tests—State tests, the new Common Core tests, the SAT and the ACT and on and on?  Well, if you answer every question on this test correctly, this will be the last standardized test you will ever have to take in your life. You will never have to take another one of these tests. Imagine that.

However, the stakes are high. Question #22 requires you to name the last place in the world that you would ever want to live. If you do not answer every question correctly, you will have to move there.

You will have just 10 minutes to answer the 23 questions on this test. That’s right, only 10 minutes. That’s not a lot of time, but don’t panic. Staying calm is absolutely essential.

Follow these directions carefully: Read the entire test through completely before answering any questions.  Then take the test.  For questions #2-21 and question #23, cross out the incorrect answers completely, leaving only the correct answer. Because our machines will be scoring your paper, we suggest using a #2 pencil.  You may use a #3 or #4 pencil if you wish. Using a #1 or a #6 pencil is not allowed. Please take a moment to check the number on the pencil you plan to use.

We told you that you would have 10 minutes for the test, but you used at least one minute reading these directions. That means that you now have less than NINE minutes left!  We suggest that you stop screwing around and get to work.

#1: What is your name?  ______________________________________________

#2: Are you sure?

YES
NO

#3: This is question #3.

TRUE
FALSE

#4: Whom is the Lincoln Memorial named for?

GEORGE WASHINGTON
ABRAHAM LINCOLN
ABRAHAM MEMORIAL

#5: Question #5 is not a True-False question.

TRUE
FALSE

#6: Rhode Island is not actually an island.

TRUE
FALSE

#7: Asking if Rhode Island is an actual island is a trick question.

TRUE
FALSE

#8: This is the third question involving Rhode Island. Three questions out of 23 about one state, especially a tiny one like Rhode Island, is evidence of what?

TEST BIAS
A LIMITED IMAGINATION
A LAME SENSE OF HUMOR
ALL OF THE ABOVE

#9: Who is buried in Grant’s tomb?

PRESIDENT GRANT
MRS. GRANT
BOTH OF THEM
NEITHER OF THEM

#10: Question #9 is a trick question because President and Mrs. Grant are actually interred in Grant’s Tomb and not buried there.

TRUE
FALSE

#11: What the heck does ‘interred’ mean anyway?

‘BURIED ABOVE GROUND’
DON’T KNOW
DON’T CARE

#12: The “Common Core,” approved by all but five states, means we now have….

NATIONAL STANDARDS
FEDERAL STANDARDS
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?

#13: The “Common Core” would have been called “American Standards” if that weren’t the name of a popular line of toilets.

TRUE
OF COURSE THAT’S TRUE
THAT’S TOO FUNNY NOT TO BE TRUE

#14: Whatever its name, the “Common Core” is going down the toilet anyway.

TRUE
FALSE

#15. The Los Angeles Lakers play their home games in what city?

CALIFORNIA
THE WEST COAST
LOS ANGELES
ALL OF THE ABOVE

#16: What were the last two states admitted to the United States?

ALASKA AND HAWAII
HAWAII AND ALASKA
#49 AND #50

#17: Dvorak’s Symphony #9 in E Minor, Opus 95, is written in what key?

DVORAK WAS BORN IN 1841
E MINOR
HIS FIRST NAME WAS ANTONIN
HE DIED IN 1904
ALL OF THE ABOVE

#18: The most influential educator in America is

DAVID COLEMAN
WHO’S DAVID COLEMAN?

#20: This is question #19.

TRUE
FALSE

#19: There is no question #19

TRUE
FALSE

#21: The opening sentence of this test says this will be the last standardized test you will ever have to take.  That statement is a bold-faced lie.

TRUE
FALSE

#22: What is the last place in the world you would ever want to live, the absolutely most horrible place you can imagine?   ___________________________

#23: This stupid test is a waste of time.

RHODE ISLAND
PRESIDENT GRANT
HAWAII AND ALASKA
NONE OF THE ABOVE

Because you read the directions through completely before beginning the test, you do not have to take this test–or any more for the rest of your life.  Instead, you should put your pencil down and congratulate yourself on being smart enough to follow directions.  Everyone else has to move to the most horrible place in the world.

28 Responses to “Your Last Standardized Test Ever”

  1. Cosmic Tinker 23. May, 2013 at 2:57 pm #

    Clever, John! –although I’d like to see your validity and reliability data.

    Talk about high-stakes. Five years ago, I probably would have named a third world country as the worst place in the world to have to live, but today, sadly, I kept thinking of the US: “How America Became a Third World Country” http://billmoyers.com/2013/05/21/how-america-became-a-third-world-country/

    • john merrow 23. May, 2013 at 4:34 pm #

      “Call me unreliable……”

  2. Joanne Jacobs 23. May, 2013 at 3:44 pm #

    I learned to follow directions on a test from Mrs. Silverman in sixth grade, so I don’t have to move to North Korea.

    Stupid tests are a waste of time, but not all tests are stupid. I don’t see how schools will improve if there’s no way to evaluate whether students are learning what they’re supposed to be learning. Standardized tests hold students at different schools to the same expectations.

    It’s easy enough to declare that students have unmeasured talents and skills. Perhaps they’re “lifelong learners” who haven’t learned much in their years of compulsory schooling but will learn in the future, when it’s optional. I think it’s more likely that kids do poorly on tests because they lack reading, writing and math skills and science, history, geography and general knowledge.

    • john merrow 23. May, 2013 at 4:36 pm #

      I agree that we need tests and assessments. I don’t think their primary purpose should be to hold adults accountable.
      My silly test is just for fun. No editorial comments intended or implied

    • Amy Valens 24. May, 2013 at 2:36 pm #

      Instead of standardized high stakes tests that by their very nature have as many flaws (albeit probably not as laugh out loud ones) as John’s, make teacher training at least as reliable at producing professionals you can trust as the training of doctors produces. Perhaps their assessments would look more like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=OfeBe2G7DDQ

  3. AG Rud 23. May, 2013 at 3:57 pm #

    Good test, I am struggling, but I think you could use another question.

    Which college seems partial to TFA/choice/neolib agenda in education when they honor an educator?

    A; Dartmouth
    B: Our alma mater
    C: A small college but there are those who love it
    D: All of the above

    • john merrow 23. May, 2013 at 4:37 pm #

      Cannot hear you. You are just another voice crying in the wilderness

  4. Lutz 23. May, 2013 at 4:12 pm #

    How much Oxycodone does your physician allow you? How much did you take?

  5. john merrow 23. May, 2013 at 4:37 pm #

    Is that a true-false question?

  6. Lellingw 23. May, 2013 at 5:12 pm #

    One question. You say this is a standardized test, it looks more like an achievement test. What was your method of standardization and how many subjects did you use? Ages? Sex? Area of Country? Language used in test? Language of test subjects? standard mean of each test question? Are you sure you standardized this test?

    • Cosmic Tinker 23. May, 2013 at 5:34 pm #

      “Are you sure you standardized this test?”

      Need John to sing the answer to that one again, “call me unreliable..”? (And there are a number of standardized achievement tests, like the WRAT4.)

    • john merrow 23. May, 2013 at 6:54 pm #

      I am trusting everyone to take it under the same standardized circumstances. I may decide to use an eraser to standardize the results

  7. Chi-Town Res 23. May, 2013 at 5:25 pm #

    Interesting how content here that is ” just for fun. No editorial comments intended or implied” has resulted in a reply from John to all of the comments so far, whereas his last blog regarding WaPo resulted in only three replies to 71 comments.

    Just goes to show that standardized tests aren’t the only way to garner high-stakes. Low stakes is good for you, too, huh, John?

    • john merrow 23. May, 2013 at 6:55 pm #

      Well, that settles it. I won’t reply to your comment. Satisfied?

      • Cosmic Tinker 23. May, 2013 at 8:05 pm #

        I’m a veteran career educator with eyes in the back of my head. As most of my esteemed colleagues, I know how to read folks who are “non-responsive.” Thanks for the confirmation, John!

        Lowering the stakes really does make learning and teaching so much more enjoyable. I bet few of us cheated and looked up anything, like “interred,” until after the test, just so we COULD learn something new or verify what we thought we knew. Thank goodness that much of what we do everyday involves low-stakes learning. I feel very fortunate to have had that kind of formal education, way back before the testing obsession.

  8. Larry Tietz 23. May, 2013 at 6:06 pm #

    I knew ahead of time I couldn’t answer all the questions correctly. I chose Shangri La as the last place on earth I would want to live. I will live out my end of days in bliss. Thank god for tests!

    FYI – the first time I learned I was an underachiever was when I scored in the 98% percentile on my third grade standardized test, yet was a C student. Thanks Miss Castora for pointing that out to me! Now, who really failed that test – A. The teacher. B. The student :) , :)

  9. Roz 23. May, 2013 at 7:18 pm #

    Question #15 almost posed a problem for me. When I left LA in 1984, the Los Angeles Lakers played in the city of Inglewood. Because I’m not a sports fan I didn’t learn until very recently that the Lakers left Inglewood for LA. My stock of knowledge necessary for this test item was almost inadequate to answer question correctly. But thank goodness my social capital–folks in my network still in LA–compensated for my potentially inadequate cultural capital by updating me on the Lakers in sufficient time for me to answer this test item properly.

    • Chi-Town Res 23. May, 2013 at 8:13 pm #

      “Updating” from “social capital-folks,” hmmm… Hey, Teach, isn’t cooperative learning supposed to be cheating, or do you defer to Vygotsky?

  10. Veteran Educator 23. May, 2013 at 8:32 pm #

    I think #18 is wrong. David Coleman might be the most influential person dictating policies to educators, or almost as influential as Gates and Duncan, but just like Gates and Duncan, he is not an educator himself.

  11. Veteran Educator 23. May, 2013 at 8:43 pm #

    Do you characterize Rhee is an educator, too, John? I saw her say on a panel something like, “We as educators…” and it literally made me nauseous. How does someone with 5 weeks of training, who failed by every possible measure her first year of teaching, and then worked the next two years as a “co-teacher” get to call herself an educator 20 years later? I’ve read about people now and then characterized as “a former teacher.” Even that doesn’t work for me. At most, I think Rhee is just a former TFAer.

  12. bob 23. May, 2013 at 10:14 pm #

    My god. How funny!

  13. Jan Carson 23. May, 2013 at 11:53 pm #

    Way more fun than trying to manage a debate with 7th graders on the 2nd to last day of school!!! Thanks, John. A few of those got an audible chuckle, notably the Rhode Island trilogy :)

  14. Jan Carson 27. May, 2013 at 12:44 am #

    In case anyone missed this one:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uH9vxq1iJVM

    A teacher resigns on video.

  15. Jan Carson 27. May, 2013 at 12:49 am #

    Sorry, John. I think that video is more relevant to your previous post: the yes-man demand.

  16. Abhishek Erach 28. May, 2013 at 5:20 am #

    this is awesome!!!

    thanks for this great post

    • john merrow 28. May, 2013 at 10:37 am #

      Does that mean you got 100% and don’t have to move?

      • Teacher Ed 28. May, 2013 at 6:33 pm #

        Don’t you mean he followed directions and thus didn’t have to take the test so won’t have to move? –Very different from getting 100%.

        If only all tests were this fun!

  17. Elder Wise 03. Jun, 2013 at 6:11 am #

    I had to take a high-stakes test on Friday. It was the emissions test for my 14 year old car. It may sound like nothing to others, but it was high-stakes because I would not be permitted to purchase my license plate renewal sticker until I passed that test and this was the last day before my plates expired. In my area, cops needing to fill ticket quotas tend to pounce the predictable first day of plate expirations, with some citizens having reported receiving up to 7 tickets in one day. I don’t have that kind of money.

    So, I took my car in for a $28 oil change special and told the (highly recommended on Yelp) mechanic that I was going for my emissions test and they checked my car. I was told it needed $800 worth of repair work for issues of concern to my safety, like brakes. Woahh. I would have to pay over $100 for the license renewal and just don’t have disposable income, which I explained.

    Also told them that I have concerns because my gas tank doesn’t register correctly. It always says that the tank is full, so I never know how much gas I really have. And because of that, when I go to fill up, the pump stops immediately, as if it really is full. So I have to try to override and keep pumping manually –until it tops off. That didn’t seem to concern them but it’s been a big deal to me.

    Then they said my car’s computer was not registering, which meant I was going to fail the emissions test. That turned out to be due my having a dead battery replaced a couple weeks ago. So, their prescription was for me to drive my car 100 miles, so the battery would recycle and turn the computer back on. But, I was warned to stay off highways because my car was unsafe. No problem there. I’ve been avoiding highways ever since I stopped knowing how much gas I have.

    So, I drove around rather aimlessly trying to figure out where to go for 100 miles. At my age, most of your loved ones are long gone, so I ended up visiting grave sites at cemeteries, plus I drove past their former residences. Not very fun test prep but then what is? After 60 miles, I couldn’t take it anymore and decided I’d just take my chances with the emissions test. To my surprise, I passed. What a relief! Now I just have to hope that my car and I make it until our next test.

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