Test Anxiety

Last spring I took a job scoring standardized test questions.  In case you’ve forgotten, these are the “high stakes” exams for which teachers prepare students by reviewing the year’s work, practicing test-taking strategies and reminding everyone to eat a good breakfast. 

I wanted this job because it seemed like a great company for remote work if you have an education background.  The other reason this seemed a good fit is because I prefer to work alone. 

Before I got the final stamp of approval, I had to bring personal identification to someone (no family members or convicted felons) and have this person confirm that I am who I say I am.  See the irony here?  I take this remote job because I am an introvert and the first order of business is this weird social interaction. 

Training involved scoring answers and learning why two nearly identical responses are not graded the same.  You might be surprised at the number of ways students can answer a question about the area of a garden.

Naturally, this job was pretty tedious since I was grading the same question thousands of times.  But every now and then, one of these little mathematicians gave me something to smile about.  I hope they do the same for you.

Let’s have some fun!

The first question I scored had a gardening theme.  Some responses had more to do with agriculture than math:

Thanks, Farmer Fred!
Showing off vocabulary. This would have been me.

The spelling is often atrocious and amusing.

I’ve taught a lot of math and INCUEBELENT is news to me.
I love this child who quotes his teacher about being a good mathematician.
He means VOILA! Future showman?

I enjoy the ones who try to turn it around and answer the question with a question.  I had a professor like that once:

Turning things back on the questioner can be a valid strategy. . . sometimes.
Eggs, juice bottles, Sprite and money are all measured in yards. Oh, Worthell.

Some of them promise to do the work but never quite get around to it:

And then what happened?
Promises, promises.

A few of the students seem to be begging for mercy:

Funny or sad? I included it here so you know my answer.
Give me a break, lady. I’m only 9 years old!

Of course, some feel art is more important than mathematics:

Note that the evil face is bringing news of your failure.
Only so many hours in a day. Choices must be made.
I admit I saw this one and winked back. Try it. It’s fun.
Math Frankenstein, with his number line head scar, is my fave.

Some are conversational with the scorer which, oddly, made me feel less lonely:

This kid is singing, “LET IT GO! LET IT GO!”
Any leniency for good work habits?
I’m asked to pretend the blocks of a equal size. I’ve done this with my own drawings so I totally get it.
I promise it was not my intent to insult anyone’s intelligence.
Gotta love the enthusiasm. Check out the accompanying drawing:

The work went onfor 6 weeks but the repetitive nature of it made it seem much longer.  I have revised my thinking about this being a springboard to a great remote job.  It’s really just an opening to doing this exact task again. 

My plan is to hold it over my own head – “You’d better get a job by next scoring season or it’s back to the tedium for you, girl!”  But a few kiddos broke up the hours for me and I’m grateful to them.  Too bad there are no points for amusing the scorer.

6 Replies to “Test Anxiety”

  1. I love these.

    I suspect the first drafts of lots of output from Washington or Atlanta looks too much like this (before the staff cleans it up for final consumption).

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