This last week we administered our high school proficiency tests, a series of three multiple choice exams which must be passed in order to graduate. There are tests for science, math, and reading. I proctored the two-hour science test during regular classes on Monday morning, and the math and reading tests–three hours for each–on a special day set aside for them on Tuesday. Some events:
- One young man put his head down less than half an hour into the three hour math test. I nudged him and asked if he was done. He said no and put his head back down. A few minutes later, I saw him texting on a cell phone, so I took his test away and said that it couldn’t count now, even though he’d already done a two hour section of the test the day before (as per test security rules which I explained before the test started). He said he didn’t care, and calmly left for the dean’s office.
- You’d think an episode like that would have made the other students less likely to play with their phones during the test. You’d be wrong. Such is the totality of addiction, don’t you know.
- A young woman came back from lunch announcing that as soon as she was done with her test, she was getting up and leaving. During the test, her attention span must have run out, as she and the three friends around her started whispering and throwing bits of paper at each other. I moved them to desks at different corners of the room, to which she grumbled that I was difficult and irritating. She sat down and refused to keep working. A few minutes later, she also started texting. She got what she apparently wanted–I took her test and she had to go to the dean.