So, all around the nation today seniors were taking the Advanced Placement Literature and Composition test. At my school, three of my students opted not to take the test, some for decent reasons, some not. Of the 21 who did take it, at least four went to sleep without finishing even half of the test. That just grinds my gears, as Peter Griffin might say.
It gets better. Mine is an inner city school. Low income. So the school offers fee waivers for almost everyone taking the AP test. Yes, these kids let the school pay the $85 for their tests, then went to sleep on top of them.
On Monday I’d assigned both classes to break into groups of two and review the cards they are supposed to make of all the books we’ve read. They flat-out refused to do it. So the next day I gave them a test. One class’s test was: Identify the overriding theme of each of these works, then paraphrase a scene that illustrates that theme. The other class had basically the same thing, but had to relate the character arc of the protagonist. I then listed 10 major works we’ve used in class. Failure. Two kids passed. Most of the second class got zeroes because they couldn’t shut up and take the test.
Oh, there was bitching and moaning about that test. It wasn’t fair. Why am I trying to fail them? On and on.
Yesterday I gave them a survey listing every book we’ve read in class. I asked them to be honest and identify which ones they’d actually read and which ones they’d made review cards for. My suspicions were confirmed and it was very evident why they failed the test the day before. In one case, a kid had only read one of the 13 books. Another had read two. Wait for it … We’d read two of them out loud as a class, and those weren’t the ones these two had read. Not one single kid had read every assigned book. In most cases they’d refused to read at least three. We spent five weeks on The Grapes of Wrath, and yet many didn’t read it. What the hell?
Gah! Next year I’ll be chasing the lazy bastards out of my class the first week.