Low Stakes Testing

LARGEIMAGE_301696 copyPangloss Academy is a non-profit independent school dedicated to providing affluent children with the self-confidence they’ll need to navigate an increasingly stressful world. Study after study has shown that self-confidence trumps intelligence in most everyday situations — like those fraternity and sorority rushes of college, the cocktail parties of young adulthood, and the parent/teacher conferences of middle age. Who’s more likely to get her way in an exclusive retirement facility, a wizened mathematician or confident, forceful Pangloss alum?

We believe that success breeds success. Our curriculum has been engineered to insure every one of our students graduates with a 4.0 GPA. While the children of your friends and neighbors are developing negative self-images as they struggle with high stakes Common Core exit tests, your sons and daughters will be accumulating confidence as they ace test after test.

For example, let’s take a peek at Pangloss’s exit exam for juniors.

* * *


The following test will determine how much common sense you possess, and you know and I know you’re going to ace this test because you’ve aced every single other test you’ve taken. This sequence of success is called a pattern, and being able to recognize patterns is what success is all about.

Although the test is short and sweet, you have up to four hours to complete it, and don’t forget that if for some unheard of reason you don’t make a 100, you can retake the test as many times as you like until you’ve mastered the material.

Each of you has been provided with a sharpened number 2 pencil with an excellent eraser. If you find that you do make a mistake and need to erase, please raise your hand, and one of the proctors will come by and erase it for you to insure that the answer sheet is not smudged and the Scantron picks up the correct bubble.

Okay, ready. Please open your booklet.

Like every single test you’ve taken at Pangloss, this test consists of multiple choice and short answer questions. Please darken the appropriate bubbles in the multiple-choice section and write your responses to the short-answer questions in the blue books with the smiley faces you’ve been given.

Okay, let’s try the practice question. Darken the bubble of the letter that best answers the following question.

What is the second letter of the alphabet?

A. A

B. B

C. C

D. D

Yes, B’s the correct answer.

When you complete the exam, raise your hand, and one of the proctors will take it up and give you a coupon for a free ice cream cone at Ben and Jerry’s.

Turn the page and begin.

Multiple Choice

1 -4. Place the following historical events in the correct chronology. Place the letter of the answer that occurred first for number one, the letter of the event that occurred second in number two etc.

A.  The 2016 presidential election

B.  The extinction of the dinosaurs

C.   World War II (2)

D.  The building of the Egyptian Pyramids

5.   Who wrote Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony?

A.  Amadeus Wolfgang Mozart

B.  The Mamas and the Papas

C.  Ludwig von Beethoven

D.  Johannes Kepler

6.  Beethoven wrote nine symphonies.  What symphony did he write after his Fifth?

A.  Sixth

B.  Second

C.  Ninth

D.  A Concerto for Violence

7.  Who is the main character of Shakespeare’s famous tragedy Hamlet?

A. Hamlet

B.  Gertrude

C.  Clown (gravedigger)

D.  William Faulkner

8- 11  Place the following in ascending order from smallest to largest in relation to its size with the smallest going in number 7, the next larger in number 8, etc.

A.  an atom

B.  a swimming pool

C.  Lake Erie

D.  The Indian Ocean

You’ve now competed the multiple-choice section. Remember to write the answers for the following questions in the blue book with the smiley face on its cover. You don’t have to write in complete sentences, but if you want to, that’s okay, too.

Short Answer Questions

  1. Do you own a dog?
  1. What do you call either your grandmother or grandfather, you know, Paw Paw, Nana, etc. If you don’t have any grandparents, what do you call your mom and dad?
  1. This year you’ve studied American literature. Name one author you’ve studied. (If you draw a blank, see number seven of the multiple-choice section).
  1. In math we learned about pi, π, a mathematical constant, the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. This ratio is commonly approximated as 3.14159.

Draw a circle.

  1. Pi has a homonym spelled p-i-e. Homonyms are words that sound alike but have different meanings. From the perspective of looking straight down from above, draw a picture of a pie. What do the two drawings you have made have in common? What is the approximate ratio of their circumference to their diameter. Carry the decimal point to five places. (See number 4).
  1. What reward to you get when you finish this test?

You’re done. Now raise your hand to receive that coupon for a free ice cream cone!


2 thoughts on “Low Stakes Testing

  1. I’m SHOCKED that, instead of actual ice cream cones, students are provided with COUPONS. This is unacceptable. Where are we, Nazi Germany? You’re as bad as Hitler. I’m pulling my child out immediately.

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