Thursday, July 3, 2008

The 2 or More Point Expletive

Quiz time! (Please do not answer this question in the fashion exhibited by the subject of this post. I will have a much different reaction than some.)

Suppose you are a senior examiner for the Assessment and Qualifications Alliance (the ol' AQA) over there in Great Britain. Your job is to grade the exams that are taken by British high school students. One of the exams that you are given to grade is blank except for the words "f*** off" written on it. Do you:

  • A) Fail the student

  • B) Fail the student

  • C) Fail the student

  • D) Give the student credit because the phrase expressed meaning and was spelled correctly.

If you answered "D", you are, unfortunately, correct! Wait. What?

From our good friends across the pond there at The Times UK, senior examiner Peter Buckroyd gave the student 2 out of 27 points possible for the English paper that he turned in with only the two word expletive phrase written across the top. Yes, apparently you can earn some points (not ZERO points) by only writing "f*** off" on your exam. WTF? why is that?

Well, Buckroyd (who I am oh-so tempted to just call Asshat from here on out, but I'll refrain. For now.) is quoted as explaining his reasoning behind giving the student points (and thereby giving the student credits) as, "It would be wicked to give it zero because it does show some very basic skills we are looking for, like conveying some meaning and some spelling." Oh, my God, WHAT?!!? Expressed meaning? And while that may be true, from what I can tell the only "meaning" that was "expressed" is that the student is an IDIOT! (Granted, the moron grading the exam is a bigger idiot, but it was the expletive on the exam that expressed the meaning, which is why I couldn't attribute the moronic character to Mr. Buckroyd at that moment. But I can now. He's a bigger idiot.) And, seriously, "spelled correctly"? ONE of the words was "OFF" for cryin' out loud! This was a high school student! And really, truth be known, expletives? Not all that hard to spell! Even easier to say! Even the expletives that are compound words are composed of two basically easy to spell words! That's probably why you never hear "f***" as one of the words at the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Words like "f***"? Highly inappropriate. And too damn easy to spell!

Buckroyd also said, "It's better than someone that doesn't write anything at all." Is IT? Is it, SIR? Is "f*** off" BETTER than NOTHING?! I don't know about anyone else, but I'm thinking I'd rather have NOTHING than "f*** off". (Actually, in this case, I'd rather have the kid just TAKE THE DAMN TEST!)

You know what though? Turns out that it could have been worse. How? Buckroyd said the student would have received a HIGHER score if "the phrase had been punctuated." WTF?! Now, I don't know if Buckroyd hit his head real hard that morning before he flew into work on his unicorn (after having breakfast with a couple of leprechauns and the Tooth Fairy), but this guy must be living in a fantasy land. Oh, wait! He clearly is! That's because he had graded a different student's exam in 2006 that used the same phrase! He gave that student credit as well because it was in response to the test question, "Describe the room you are sitting in." Wait. What?

First of all, what in the hell kind of a test do you get in high school where one of the questions is "Describe the room you are sitting in."? What class is that for, exactly? "Surrounding Awareness"? "Four Walled Interior Cubicle Description Composition"? Seriously.

I think I speak for most people who don't write "f*** off" on their exams and turn them in when I say, "What in the hell is going on over there in Great Britain anyway?" Well, according to the "mark scheme" which provides some sort of guidelines on how the AQA should be grading the tests, "If a candidate makes any sort of response to a question then it must be at least given consideration to be awarded a mark." And that's just fine IF after "consideration" you "consider" that the toolbox who wrote "f*** off" on his exam should get a freaking ZERO! So, I'd like to know if MORE "colorful" phrases had been written on the exam is the student would have received MORE credits?! More credits, of course, provided that they were all spelled correctly and were punctuated. I mean, if they weren't and the student STILL received credit for the exam, well, that would just be silly, wouldn't it? Of course.

I'm starting to get concerned about Europe. And not just because of some of the weird food they eat over there either. They seem to have this mentality that caters to the notion that everything a child does is worth some sort of positive reinforcement or positive acknowledgement. And while this sort of asinine behavior has been going on for quite some time, both in Europe and in the US, I had thought (hoped) that it would have been limited to things like sports and other activities that were NOT school. Sadly, it has infiltrated the learning system and I can only see a way too near future where a bunch of precious little snowflakes taking English exams and turning them in with a minimal of expletives (and a complete absence of ANY sort of correct answer) scrawled across the top will no longer be a novelty of which to mock.

Stumble Upon Toolbar Sphere: Related Content

No comments: