Midterms

I’ve already covered cheating, but I promised I would elaborate on midterms. I helped proctor 10 last week. It wasn’t the most fun I’ve had at site, but I’m glad I did it.

THE TESTS

…took place over 9 days, 2 a day, each lasting 90 minutes with a 30-minute break in between.

THE STUDENTS

…in each classroom were mixed; half came from one grade, half from another, either 10th, 11th or 12th. Each student had to sit next to someone from the other grade. When I first realized this, I thought it might help discourage cheating. I was mistaken to the point that I still have to laugh when I think about it.

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THE PROCTORS

…were teachers, student-teachers and myself. In general there were two proctors to a classroom. A few minutes before the test was scheduled to begin, one of the two went to pick up a sort of portfolio, which contained attendance sheets, answer sheets and top-secret question sheets, the last of which were in sealed envelopes. As soon as the students were settled, my colleagues generally declared mission accomplished and decided that the testing sessions were a great opportunity to catch up on other work, social media or even sleep. One co-proctor even thought the listening portion of the English test was the perfect time to have a chat with me. It took a lot of desperate whispering and then silence on my part to convince him otherwise. We simply ended up having our chat during the next test, which did not include a listening section. Standing just outside the classroom door, we talked about everything except the rampant cheating I imagined was going on a few feet away.

THE DISTRACTIONS

…were many. After students had already been handed their question and answer sheets, the attendance sheets were passed around to be initialed: the perfect opportunity to turn around and talk to your classmate behind you. To be fair, testing had only just begun, so desperation still hadn’t reached its peak. Students weren’t sure yet, which questions they wanted their friends to answer for them. The real distractions were still to come.

The ringing of a teacher’s cell phone and the ensuing conversation; visits by teachers who checked that each room did in fact have its assigned proctors—each day, I initialed a sort of attendance sheet, just like the students; visits by other teachers who wanted who knows what; screaming and singing, coming from the elementary school next door; English language listening assignments that might not be for your grade (different grade levels were naturally taking different tests, sometimes even for different subjects—interestingly, that didn’t stop them from helping each other).

The list goes on, and I should add myself. Most of the students, whose exams I was proctoring, had never had me as a teacher, so I was still relatively new to them. Some students couldn’t stop staring, no matter how hard they pretended to try.

With 20 minutes to go, the first students began to hand in their finished tests. This was probably the very best time to get help from a friend. The teachers were occupied with keeping all the papers organized and no longer concerned with students walking around or talking. All in all, one of the best examples of going through the motions I have ever witnessed.

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One thought on “Midterms

  1. Pingback: What’s the answer? | archipeliam

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