Monday, October 22, 2007

Keine Ahnung


This is what I thought during much of my GRE-taking session that occured last Saturday. It means "no idea" as in " I have NO IDEA" (Ich habe nicht keine Ahnung)...but I love school. And I want more.
Why is it that standardized tests accompany and terrorize us throughout our educational career? There are assessments for kindergarten, both at the beginning and the end of the school year. Grades 1, 4, 6, 8 AND 10 include at least a week of the dreaded testing for the children, at least in my state. Not to mention the weeks of preparation that the students endure to get to those hours of testing that requires filling in hundreds of little bubbles. And then, the pre-SAT, the ACT, the actual SAT, the AP tests, the graduation exit for seniors--is there no relief???
Apparently not. The final for General Chemistry is a standardized test. A timed standardized test. SO unfair! I can do chemistry, ok? At least, gen chem. But timed? WIth my final grade as ransom? That is just stress. Another one waits, this time at the end of the organic chemistry series. I guess the American Chemical Society can just DO that.
Then, graduate school. The GRE is only the general test; there is a GRE Subject test as well. Or, if you prefer to be a lawyer, you get the LSAT; a doctor, the MCAT or the DAT. If English is your second language or if you wish to teach English as a second language, there are tests for that as well.
I know, I know, there are standards we all must achieve before we can move on. Yes, I realize that standardized tests are a convenient way to find the level of education to which a person has progressed. But what about those of us who know the material, yet the set-up and structure of the test points directly to our weaknesses? Could there be another way to prove to our prospective educators or employers that we are capable of the tasks and rigours required without having to know how to figure the area of a trapezoid? (it is A=1/2(b1+b2)(h), BTW)
Believe me, I studied. For weeks, and using the practice materials the testing institution itself recommended and even gave out. I practiced! I learned new vocabulary, practiced figuring (by hand) standard deviation and reviewed many algebra and geometry equations and theorems. But I still did poorly.
There is hope, however. There was actual writing involved (yay!) and I did graduate magna cum laude from my undergraduate university. May the admissions committee have mercy...please LET ME IN!!!

8 comments:

Luisa Perkins said...

How do you know you did poorly? It sounds like a total ordeal no matter how hard you study. Patrick hated the LSAT, but ended up scoring in the 97th percentile.

luisaj said...

OK. She asked my question. How do you know you did poorly? Are you psychic? I took the Miller's Analogy to get into a Masters in Reading program at U of U, mostly because that test involved no math. I prepared in much the same way you did, and when I finished the test I had absolutely NO idea how I did. I ended up in the 93rd percentile, but who knew?? And what exactly did they realize from my scores?

anjmae said...

because it was computer based and the non-writing portions were posted if I so chose as soon as I finished the last section...that's how I know...

dgoodwin said...

aah yes, test scores and arbitrary measurements. We all fall subject to them in their various ways. I remember my ACT score before college. It was higher than my shoe size [barely :)] and lower than my waist measurement.
It's nice to see your love for education, a worthwhile piece of this life's experience.
You've already proven your intellectual prowess and things of much greater value to me, test scores aside.

dgoodwin said...

Additionally; it is also noteworthy that your apple pie is the BEST - ever! lots of butter, and maple syrup. mmmm! anyone interested in the recipe is advised to skip the whole wheat crust version though. :))

Karen said...

What?!?!? I love the whole wheat crust...it makes me feel like it is a little bit healthy!!! :) Anj, I feel your pain, and I see it in my students as well. I will say however, it is more fun being a Proctor for the test...but not by too much. :)

luisaj said...

Healthy whole-wheat pie crust??? Isn't that an oxymoron? And what's the point? Who ever heard of healthy pie?

Luisa Perkins said...

HAAAAPPPPPPYYYYYYYY BIIIIIIIRRRRRTHHHHHHHDAAAAAYYYYYYY!!!!!!!