Bobby Blair letter

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Letter to the editor

Always knew six-weeks tests were waste of time

“Shaffer said that schools may be losing a week’s worth of instruction by taking nine-week or mid-term tests.”

— SP considers grading change, March 21, 2008.

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OMG!!!!  I always thought those “six-weeks tests” were a definite waste of my time. Given my grades, my teachers probably thought so, too.

Now, I learn that the school system “wastes” one week per “term” in giving tests when that “week” could be better utilized in learning new material.

Let me see… if we took six weeks tests at the end of the first, second, fourth, and fifth six week periods and semester exams at the end of the third and sixth six week periods — let me get out Mrs. Rieves’ old algebra book — that’s one week per testing period for four periods! OK, wait a minute, I’ve got to pull off my shoes.  That is four periods (1 finger, 2 finger, 3 finger, four.) and semester exams….(1 little piggie went to market, 2 little piggie stayed at home). That’s six weeks we wasted every year!

Wow! We must’ve been smart because we did in 30 weeks what they say today’s kids can’t do in 36.  There was  Lynn  (girl), Kaye (Bet her students don’t know how smart Mrs. Smythe was in high school), Flip (a pretty good drummer back in his day) and there was “The Other Carolyn” (The perfect example of the cream always rising to the top). Gee, and I was in school with all of those smart folks and we all learned how to read, write, and figure numbers in — wait a minute, let me wash my hands so I can start counting all over again — (I’ll bet Carolyn, Kaye, and Lynn never had to take off their shoes to count.)

Somehow, we seem to have learned more and better in less time than today’s students.  I wonder why? Who can I sue to get compensation for wasting my barely noticed efforts to cram for my six week tests? I could’ve been watching Beverly Hillbillies on t.v. instead of trying to learn all of those theorems and stuff. Oh wait, I still watch Beverly Hillbillies on t.v. Every night. Not much has changed, huh?

Oh-Oh! Wait a minute.. I knew I had an important point.  Wasn’t it Mr. Roberts who said that the best learning tool we had in school was a test?  After all, how were you supposed to find out what it was that you didn’t understand or learn if you didn’t take a test and miss the answer?  (I still don’t understand why my image gets smaller in the mirror as I walk away from it. Or why it gets bigger as I get closer — General Science class, spring 1962.)

Maybe those tests weren’t so much wasted time after all.  Maybe you learn more from taking tests. Again, Mr. Roberts is, and was, ahead of his time in what he told his students.

By the way, Mr. Roberts, I still think I made at least a C+ or a B- on my bug collection.  Lepidoptera, Coleoptera. Uh-uh. Maybe not. Thanks anyway.  

/s/ Bobby Blair