It’s September and all of the little children are back in school again. They come home crying because of all the homework they have to do and the quiz on Wednesday and the test on Friday. All of the parents and other adults wink and nod at each other, and we share a collective grin.
We’ve been there. We know what they’re going through.
But do we? Do we really know what they’re going through? It’s a new generation, you know? Different times. Different questions. Different answers. Yet we mock. Ha ha! We wink. We grin.
But what if we were put to the test? What if we had to answer questions? What if we had to take pop quiz’s every Wednesday? Aha! What then, indeed?
To those of you who dare to put yourself in the fragile, emotionally delicate position of your aspiring students, I offer you a quiz. In fact, it’s a test about tests! Ironic, don’t you think? By the way, that wasn’t one of the questions, so don’t get carried away (although if you answered “yes” then give yourself five points extra credit).
The correct answers are at the end (and no cheating). Let’s begin.
1. True or false: According to “experts” and “people in the know,” there are slightly fewer “false” answers than “true” answers on the average true-or-false questionnaire.
2. After the 1938 introduction of the IBM 805 test-scoring machine, No. 2 pencils were required because it detected the electrical current flowing through the graphite markings. However, pencils have been rendered useless today because of this reason:
a) Ummm . . . wait, we don’t need pencils?
b) No, seriously, we don’t need to use pencils anymore?
c) Since the 1960s, Optical Mark Recognition (OMR) has been used to recognize marks made by pens, as well as pencils.
3. On the Standard Snellen Chart (the test that measures your visual acuity at the DMV, hospitals, etc.), which letter appears most frequently?
c) The fifth letter of the alphabet
e) Yes, e.
4. If you have a true-or-false question, the more detail and information that is given to the question, there is a higher probability that the answer is going to be true (because let’s face it, why would they go into so much detail and information if it wasn’t all true? True?).
5. While answering a multiple-choice question, research suggests that if you change your answer, your answer change has a 50 percent chance of going from the correct answer to the incorrect answer. However, the encouraging fact is that conversely, there is a 50 percent chance that you could be changing the incorrect answer to the correct answer. This, or course, is contingent upon there only being two possible answers. With more potential answers available, research further suggests that if you change your answer, the odds of getting the correct answer decreases. Surprisingly, it could also increase, depending on which answer you actually answer. Knowing all of this information, if you had the opportunity, what kind of tree would you want to be?
d) Hey, why don’t you take a chance on this answer? What the heck?
Here are the correct answers: 1. (b), (c) and (e). 2. (c). 3. (a), (b), (c), (d) and (e). 4. (a). 5. (b), you would want to be a palm tree. You will be allotted 10 extra credit points if you had one answer, but then changed it to palm tree.
Hopefully you all got 100 percent, but whether you did or not, let’s try to be a little more understanding toward these poor kids. They are the future, right? True or false?
Reach C.W. Plunkett at email@example.com.