April 27, 2011

117: Kool-Aid

A brief missive from the land of No Child Left Behind:

There's an occupational hazard when you're scoring standardized tests for a living: sometimes, students produce the same wrong answer so frequently that you start to think it might actually, secretly, be right.  In other words, you start drinking the Kool-Aid.  I started out reading essays, and after a few days, a number of my coworkers were grumbling that, faced with the same misspelling for hours on end, they were forgetting how words were actually spelled.  Then I scored short-answer questions assessing punctuation usage.  After three days, I wasn't sure I had ever known how to properly use a comma.  Does, it, go after; or. before? this! word?


Here's the moral of the story, kids: study hard, learn to write and express yourself properly, and read up on commas and semicolons.  It will serve you well.  Or, at the very least, it will keep the people that score your tests from going mad.


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