Friday, August 19, 2016

Extremely Solemn Answers to a Very Important Test

    Wow, I haven’t been here for ages. Health class wasn’t nearly as full of material as I expected, much to my disappointment (though I stand by my theory that my teacher, who doesn’t just recite the curriculum, but preaches it, is attempting to prevent the birth of a future generation). And then, with summer vacation, I haven’t had much to write about, so I went back to a couple of old posts I was working on, to warm back up for the flood of new grievances high school shall undoubtedly bring.

    The Algebra 1 PARCC (the new-but-not-exactly-improved MSA) is a high school graduation requirement, but last year, you didn’t actually have to pass to get the required credit. So, basically, I spent the first two test blocks reading, then I semi-took the third Algebra 1 PARCC.

    I tried to answer all the multiple-choice ones correctly - and I’m quite confident I did. But I was planning to type completely random answers for all the written (typed?) responses. For some, they would only let you type numbers, so I had to get creative. I used 666, 3.14159, 42, etc., and when all else failed, I alphabetized them (eight, nine, one, all the way to zero). I doubt the poor baffled humans (robots?) that read them will have any idea what was going on in my head, but too bad.

    Still, there were plenty of verbal responses to take advantage of. In one page, they only had one answer box, so I wrote Don’t blink. All by itself, it looked like a genuine warning at first glance, like if you blinked, something bad was actually going to happen. Another page had four separate boxes. In the first two, I wrote Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die, and You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means. In the bottom two, I wrote What is the average air velocity of an unladen swallow? and Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries. (I heard some other kid answered this on some other standardized test, which is what gave me the idea. Thank you, unknown student!)

    One of my favorites, though, was (approximately) the following:

These two number systems have no solution. Use at least two strategies to explain why they have no solution.

    To which I replied:

    Like life, these two number systems have no solution, unless you count the answer to life, the universe, and everything. However, 42 does not work mathematically; thus, we can conclude that these number systems were written in a parallel universe.

    But I wasn’t the only one writing less-than-serious answers. According to my friends, one wrote, to the last question, I don’t know how to solve this problem. Goodbye. Another wrote No to a question asking her to write a function and I don’t understand how to solve this to another. The second day of the algebra PARCC, I was still reading, but after the test, two of my friends complained about some problem involving e-mails and popcorn. If I understand their explanations correctly, it gave a table showing the relationship (apparently, none) between the number of people who responded to some e-mail and the number of bags of popcorn someone else bought. One acknowledged that he had just written “some shit answer” and the other apparently tried to give a legitimate-seeming answer, but, once the test was over, muttered, “That depends. Is it free-range popcorn? Is it gluten-free popcorn?”

    When I told some of my other friends about my joke answers, most were simultaneously shocked and delighted, one seemed horrified (much to my surprise), and all of them agreed that the test was stupid.

    I never thought I’d say this, but I can’t wait until next year’s!

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