Sunday, November 04, 2007
posted by Q6 at 8:59 PM
Yesterday I played host to 621 of the stupidest human beings on the planet. I am the Test Center Supervisor for the SAT Test. I'll tell you this: some people worry that the next generation won't be able to sustain employment and fund our Social Security; me, I'm worried that these kids will one day procreate. Then, my friends, we're in serious trouble.

It's bad enough that some of these kids take this test EVERY SINGLE TIME I give it (which is ten times a year). I don't know why they think they'll do well on the test; I don't know how they even found the school that morning. I don't know how they even found their pants when they got up. As my fiancee so aptly put it: our generation will be the last to wear pants.

  • One kid stood for half an hour in the wrong line to add the test (note: he hadn't even bothered to sign up for it) after TWO shouted directions to the correct line; then half an hour into the four-hour test, he decides to quit because he tanked the essay. Surprise, surprise.
  • Four kids put their test answers on the wrong page. They put the ID information on page one, then put the answers on page four. Like pages two and three had cooties or something.
  • After I spent five minutes telling everyone where the rooms were, over thirty kids wanted to know where the rooms were. I didn't check to see if they were wearing pants.
  • Nine kids showed up not having registered for the test. Seven showed up to the wrong test center. Twenty-two signed up, in advance, for the wrong test (in five of these cases, "My Mom signed me up for the wrong test"). Many of these students drive cars. Be careful out there, everyone.
  • More than twenty kids showed up to the 8:00 test at 8:02 or later. One kid showed up at 9:00, and I had to turn him away because all the rooms had started. He insisted that the paperwork in his hand said the test started at 9:00. "Show me," I said. His reply, as he looks at the documents: "It says right here . . . . oh. (pause) So what do I do?" I sigh. "You go home."
  • "I can't find room 12." Here we go again, I thought. "That's because we don't have a room 12. You're the twelfth kid on the list (see how the kid before you has an '11' and the kid after you has a '13') . . . what room does it say you're supposed to go to?" Wait for it . . . . "Oh." Moron.
  • One student bothered me for three days prior to the test, insisting that he was signed up at my location. "You're not on my list, and it was updated an hour ago," I explained. He showed up that morning, test ticket in hand, and proved he was signed up at my location . . . . for last month's test.
  • Seven kids cancelled their scores. One of them cancelled his midway through and then continued to take the test to the end. I still haven't figured that one out.
  • After one test ended I hear a loud, panicked banging on the window by the front door. I rush to it, assuming the building was on fire, to find the parent of a kid who put her answers on page four instead of page two (remember those kids?). She wanted to know if her daughter's test would still be scored. (This happens at every test, by the way. It's a completely boneheaded problem, but it's a simple fix.) I tell her I'll take care of it, and she grabs my arm and jumps up and down, shrieking, like I'm one of the Beatles or something.
  • Ordinarily I get three or four calls from the proctors with questions or problems. Last Saturday I got thirty or forty. Most of the questions I answered during the proctor briefing, so either stupidity is contagious in close quarters or we've all been inhaling too much soot these last two weeks. (In fact, the only proctor I was seriously worried about--a rookie--had no problems in the testing room at all. Her only error was on her payment form--she put down her house number. Not her street name, city, state, or zip code--just the house number.)
  • When I was in high school our parents didn't even get out of bed to take us to the test (much less fork out thousands of dollars in prep classes--which are apparently doing sweet-fuck-all for these kids), but today parents stalk the test center in true helicopter-parent fashion. I honestly don't know how these kids even get to high school with the umbilical cord still attached.
The SAT Test is no longer an accurate gauge for college. Originally designed as an "eduational thermometer" to determine how capable students are academically, the SAT Test has been watered down and nullified by prep classes, inappropriately accommodated students, prep classes, advanced cheating methodology, and prep classes. (Note to prep class instructors: how about spending some time teaching these kids how to navigate the answer sheet? Or how to interpret the test admission ticket? Or even, maybe, how to register for the test properly? How about teaching them how to put on their pants?)

I have seen our future, in the midst of academic combat, fighting for their future positions in society. I have seen them use all of their mental skills to demonstrate what they are truly capable of.

We're doomed, my friends. Absolutely doomed.


At 5:22 AM, Blogger Sherman Dorn

Would it help if you looked at tests through an anthropological lens instead?


At 6:51 PM, Blogger RSydnor55

I found a nice site that provides great information on the SAT and interesting strategies.


At 10:05 AM, Blogger Many Shades of Shabby by Devonia

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


At 5:35 PM, Blogger betstuckween

This is quite an old post, but I still want to comment.

As far as my two experiences (as a test-taker) with the SAT's, I can say that surprisingly, for once, my fellow classmates were not lost. I went into the test dreading the amount of concentration I was going to need to complete my test above the disruptions/confusion of the other students, but instead it was opposite (at least the first time).

The proctor (who also happened to be my teacher) sat and had a conversation with his girl-friend the whole time. Being that he's not much older than I am, I guess you can associate him with this new generation. Educators are not always what they seem to be in an interview or an observance review. I expect professional behavior especially when I am putting up $40 to fill out a bunch of bubbles.

With the amount of tension and emphasis put on this test by society, parents and schools alike, I can understand why some kids may have been completely mindless that day. The nerves are horrible, and it affects some people to a degree that alters their behavior.