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How to Fail a Test with Dignity, take 2

picture of test answer

The week before final exams last semester, I did a blog post called "How to Fail a Test with Dignity," about some hilarious answers students have written on tests. One of my readers sent me an e-mail with more test questions and answers. I'm a little suspicious as to the authenticity of these for several reasons — none of the questions have a number in front of them, the font looks about the same on all the "tests," and the handwriting in several appears to be the same. Maybe the originator had a list of test questions and the answers given, and then tried to re-create them. Whatever, they are funny and I pass them on to you, my dear readers.

In one of the answers in the previous post, a students drew an elephant and said the object in the test question would not continue to move because an elephant was in the way. Another student tried to use that same dumb answer, but with even less success — the teacher noticed a missing (de)tail:

picture of corrected test answer

WARNING: As you continue to read this post, be sure you are somewhere where you can laugh out loud, in case some of these strike you really funny. These read almost like a series of one-liners.

Spelling can be so important — don't doubt the power of a single letter....

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Teachers need to word their questions very carefully.

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Some students draw more on their own common sense and experience than on the facts discussed in class.

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Other students try to use their deductive powers, which often results in wrong conclusions.

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Some students are masters of evasion.

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Being a child of the 60's, I can't help smiling at the following evasive maneuver.

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I'm eager to read your reactions to some of these test answers.


"But for God, hopeless. With God, nothing is impossible." - Drew Conley

=^..^= =^..^=

What do you call a male ladybug?

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10 Comments on “How to Fail a Test with Dignity, take 2”

  1. #1 Sarah
    on Jan 28th, 2010 at 8:06 am

    I enjoyed these! I always enjoy students’ writing — ESL students usually come up with some good ones. Yesterday I read a paper of a 3rd grader who was describing the trip that a train took through the countryside – my favorite part of her description was “threw a lake.”

  2. #2 Zina
    on Jan 28th, 2010 at 8:55 am

    I think Philip and Michaela would agree with the one about the Roman’s early achievement being to speak Latin…not an easy language 😉

  3. #3 Michael
    on Jan 28th, 2010 at 9:38 am

    Unfortunately, I don’t get to enjoy answers like this since the vast majority of my test questions are multiple choice or matching. However, I do have my students write a paper each year and those can have some funny expressions. One of the most memorable was a student who wrote about Joan of Arc. The student claimed that Joan of Arc was an obedient girl since she did what the voices in her head told her to do.

  4. #4 Teri
    on Jan 28th, 2010 at 2:45 pm

    Too funny! I should have heeded your warning to read this in a private place. Thanks Rob!

  5. #5 Rob
    on Jan 28th, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    @Sarah – Sum of those homonyms still throe mi a curve bawl two. I pity ESL students. You might enjoy my post called Spelling and Pronunciation Woes, The English Lesson, and English is Tough Stuff. Or just click on language in the tag cloud in the sidebar.

    @Zina – If I could live high school over again, I would take Latin. I had no idea I’d become a language teacher as a squirrelly high school student. My school offered 4 years of Latin! If I had known and been directed into taking it, it would have been an immense help to me! Oh well!

    @Michael – I’ll bet you do see some great things in student papers. You should keep track of them and pass them on for my readers’ enjoyment.

    @Teri – I won’t say, “I told you so….” 😀

  6. #6 Michael H
    on Jan 28th, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    Great Humor. Thanks for sharing!

  7. #7 Nancy
    on Jan 28th, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    I remember some elementary school oral reports had their fair share of unusual pronunciations. The one that came immediately to mind was the student who stated, “You will know you are in Europe because of all the cathedrals around.” Apparently the approved pronunciation for twelve-year-olds is *CATH u-drulls*.

    It took me a minute to realize she was not referring to something medicinal in nature.

  8. #8 Jonathan
    on Jan 28th, 2010 at 6:51 pm

    These are hilarious. I remember taking elementary Greek years ago, and having to identify the “moods” of different words. Drawing a complete blank on what the options actually were, my Greek words were “sad,” “melancholy,” “happy-go-lucky,” etc.

    My Greek teacher was less than amused at the time. Thankfully I didn’t feel the need to try this with my enlightening French teacher the following year 🙂

  9. #9 Amy
    on Jan 29th, 2010 at 11:53 pm

    Amazing how creative students can get on tests. . . if only they’d apply that much thought during class! On a recent geography paper a 3rd grader in my class labeled the southernmost continent (the one where the penguins live) as “Aunt Artica.”

  10. #10 Rob
    on Jan 30th, 2010 at 10:46 am

    @Michael H – Glad you enjoyed them and left a comment to say so. Hope all’s well with you out there on the “left coast.”

    @Nancy – Yikes, that pronunciation does sound vaguely medical. When I taught Jr. High English, one girl did an oral book report about one of the Narnia series. Her pronunciation throughout was nar-NEE-uh. I have thought of her recently with the new sweetener Truvia, which is pronounced in the ads tru-VEE-uh. Hmm….

    @Jonathan – Wasn’t your Greek teacher pleased that you at least remembered the Greek words for “sad,” “melancholy,” “happy-go-lucky”?

    @Amy – I love Aunt Artica. What a nice woman! 😀