Friday, April 30, 2010

Standardized Test Improvements

Today at school, we took the state mandated minimum skills test. Yes, we are tested on the minimum we can do. Really setting our sights high, aren’t we? “Let’s see if you can walk three steps without falling down. Hooray, you did it! Congratulations, you can go to the next grade.”
So how do high achieving students like myself, who are rare granted, get rewarded? By being bored out of our heads with dumb tests and poorly worded questions. Being the kind of guy I am, I took the essay writing portion as an opportunity to help the testers with a few suggestions. The following is my response to this year’s expectedly stupid prompt : “Who has had the biggest impact on your life.”

The person who has the biggest impact on my life is my mom. Basically all kids should answer their parents. See, we’re 12, so we can’t get jobs, so if our parents didn’t pay for us, we’d be down at the hobo camp eating cold beans out of a jagged tin can, trying to pretend a rat can be a pet, and getting a nick-name that reflected our poor hygiene, like “Stinky Pits Sam” or “Halitosis Hal.”
Duh. Who comes up with these stupid prompts? Have you all ever met a kid?
Since your questions are so lacking, I’m going to use the rest of my space with some suggestions. Your welcome in advance and feel free to acknowledge my contributions to future test takers.

- Why are we still being asked questions about trains leaving and arriving on the math test? First of all, the schedules are always posted. Secondly, this hasn’t been relevant in about 8 decades. Come and join us in the 21st century.
- And what’s with the safety questions on the science test? If someone hasn’t enough sense not to look into a beaker being heated, maybe we should let him have a little peek, you know, for society’s benefit.
- Finally, wouldn’t it be a good idea to have someone familiar with the English language write the directions? Maybe send him down to a basic grammar class at the Adult Continuing Education courses they have at the “Y” on Saturdays. Here is an actual testing manual quote read to us before the test : “Does anyone have any questions about bubbling in their answer document.” Wow, and you are testing us.
o First of all, how could anyone have a question about bubbling? The only prerequisite is having an opposable thumb, which includes most humans and primates (see drawing)

o Secondly, “anyone” is singular so needs a singular antecedent, “his or her answer document. Geesh, this is pretty basic stuff, state mandated minimum skills test writer.
Yet when I point these problems out during the test, I’m the one who gets the “isolated testing” accommodation. I’d like to see in the manual where that is described. I think Mr. Cooper just made it up. You might want to investigate him.
Thus concludes the most helpful standardized essay ever.
Thaddeus A. Ledbetter esq. (soon to be)
(all rights reserved)


  1. Thaddeus, my name is Tex Rogers ( no known relation to the famous Roy Rogers; but, probably some long lost great uncle) I am an expert bull rider, calf roper, and fast gun! I actually don't own a horse or a gun or live on a farm; but, I have studied all of these areas and know when I get to buy my horse I will win first place in all the rodeos I will attend.

    So much for my cowboy skills. What I really need you help with is my grandfather. He is 70 and my sisters and I love to go to his home on a Lake and have him pull us on a tube behind his boat. The PROBLEM is he doesn't have a clue how to blow up the tube. I have tried to tell him and get that, you know look of ...who is in charge here anyway???!!

    There is a TWO PIECE valve on the tube. One is for letting all the air out quickly and the other is a small valve to air the tube up. PROBLEM, he always takes the whole valve off, tries to stuff socks in the hole around the air nozzle and fill the tube. Well, it is always about half aired up and it makes it hard to stay on the tube when he is pulling it!

    He grumps around and stick rags, socks and anything else he can get in the big whole all the time holding down the air nozzle and it is like nothing you have ever experienced. When the tube is about half full, he stands up like a rooster crowing and let us all know, "This is plenty of air"!

    With all of your experience, would it be possible for you to give me a few pointers on how to deal with this situation.

    Your new found " Best Friend"!

    Tex Rogers

    P.S. I also have some problems at school with my cowboy hat that I wear every day. Talk to you about that latter.

  2. Thaddeus A. LedbetterJune 27, 2010 at 11:37 AM

    Hey "Tex" (if that is your real name. How come other states don't get a name? You never hear of someone named "North Dak" or "Flor".)

    I feel your pain, brother. Your problem is you're dealing with an adult, and of course they "know everything."

    Your best plan is to let him blow ineffiecently until he passes out, then do it yourself the correct way.

    When he's passed out, take a few bucks from his wallet. You've earned it.

    And I bet if you get your quick draw gun, they won't bother you as much about your hat.

    Thaddeus A. Ledbetter esq.(soon to be)

  3. Thanks Thaddeus! For the hot tip. I hate to see grandfather pass out; but, that may be the only way to get the tube aired up properly. I could use some more spending money anyway!!!!

    Your blog is cool. My mom 'googled' (code for looking something up on the internet)"Thaddeus A. Ledbetter" and she said you were writing a book or something. Now that sounds too cool. I guess you will let all your 'Friends" and especially your "Best Friend" know when and where we can read it! Thanks again! Tex