Sunday, December 11, 2011

School exam answer sheets

To the best of my understanding, the determination a Turkish student's future is determined almost entirely by the ability to score well on exams. Thankfully, students get lots of practice taking exams. It seems like every two or three weeks every class has a unit exam. These exams are comprised of exactly 50 (I guess the computer can't calculate percentages for numbers different that 50) multiple choice or true false questions and students answer on forms similar to our SAT answer sheets. Students who are good test/exam takers, especially at the end of 8th grade, will attend the best high schools, which, in turn, leads to the best universities and on to the most prestigious careers. The pressure is on. Many students also take additional classes on Saturday and Sunday which means additional homework and additional tests, and more money, of course. Students take a lot of exams. (By they way, I always want to call them "tests" but they don't know that word so I'm trying to use the word "exam."

Ok, so let's get back to answer sheets...Considering the middle school has 300+ students taking 8 classes per day, and for ease of calculation, each student takes one exam per class per month, that's 2400 answer sheets generated each month. (Oh, and I think the students have to buy their own blank answer sheets.) Here's where the school is pretty smart. We make photocopies on the back (blank) side of the answer sheets. Not only is the paper free to the school, even better, the bubbles on the answer side make great mindless activities for active students who want to bubble and/or make designs and/or read the name of the test taker and say, "Oh, that's my brother's friend" rather than pay attention to the teacher or complete a worksheet. So I say, "Why buy copy paper when you can create handouts and fidigity finger activities for free on the back of exam answer sheets?"

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