Perhaps you remember the drill from you own school days. How you might steal the headmaster's picture book on anatomy right out from his desk drawer, and accidentally rip a page when startled by a snooping classmate. Oops! That was Becky Thatcher. But you know what I mean. All the little things you did to drive your teachers crazy. Like dampening the powdered pink soap from the girls' bathroom, rolling it up, and laying the balls in the pencil tray under the lid of your desk, hoping the teacher would think them candy, and swipe one and eat it, so bubbles would come out of her mouth.
Different students. Same drill. Torment the teacher while appearing innocent. My students have an affinity for test day shenanigans. It has to be a conspiracy. Surely fourteen-year-olds could follow such simple directions if they so desired. It's not the first week of school. Our testing procedure has remained the same. It's no secret that I have more than one version of the test. I flat-out tell them that fact. No trickery there. I'm not trying to set them up to take the fall in a cheating sting. Forewarned. Forearmed.
Here are the instructions. Try to keep up. "I am passing out the answer sheet. Take one, and pass them back. Put your name on it now. Here is the test. Take one, and pass them back. Put your name on it now. You may write on the test. The answer sheet only needs the letter of the answer. For example, A, B, C, D. Not the whole word or phrase. You only need to do that on the fill-in-the-blanks with the word bank. Any questions? When you are finished, put the answer sheet on top of the test, and turn them in on the front desk where you always turn in your papers. One stack. You may begin."
I am not even including in the chain-yanking tally the question: "So, you say we only need to write the answers A, B, C, D. Would that be the actual order of the answers, maybe?"
"No. It's possible. But not a clue to the right answers."
Nor the question: "How many questions? They're all multiple choice, right? No? FIFTY?"
[Obviously a lad who had garnered information from a student who had taken the adapted version of the test during the morning hours.]
So let's count the ways these cherubs innocently yank Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's short chain. These are discovered upon picking up the stack of tests to grade, mind you, and show each student his score before the class period is over. A task that is very do-able if the answer sheets lay on top of the test questions. Sort them into two stacks. Grade with appropriate key for each test version.
* answer sheet with no name
* question sheet with no name
* questions sheet on top of answer sheet
* answer sheet with no question sheet
* papers face down
* two stacks, not one: questions on left, answer sheets on right
* two stacks, not one: random questions and answer sheets in both
* papers brought to me instead of turn-in area
* words, not letters, written on all fifty questions
* the final question (Write your name on the blank.) answered with the letter "g".
* the final question (Write your name on the blank.) answered with "your name".
[I counted this as a right answer. Because the two students who did it were, like Abby Lockhart on ER explained to the young kidney patient who asked if she was a good nurse, "...technically proficient, despite certain attitude issues."]
* a phone going off with a terribly loud obnoxious Japanese-game-show-sounding ditty
* a phone going off with a terribly loud obnoxious Japanese-game-show-sounding ditty AFTER Mrs. Hillbilly Mom told the offender to turn it off, and confiscated the contraband
* answer sheets not matching the question sheets, belonging to two students sitting in close proximity
[Let the record show that the ANSWER sheet was graded with the key for that ANSWER sheet. It makes Mrs. Hillbilly Mom no nevermind that the questions came from the other version of the test. Crime does not pay. Switching out your test questions is not recommended. It is obvious when your test belongs to the next row, not yours.]
This ain't Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's first rodeo.