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Author Topic: "Follow the Instructions" Exam
Louise
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


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quote:
Originally posted by Ulkomaalainen:
quote:
Originally posted by Rehcsif:
But again we're talking about two completely different things. In the OP, we're talking about an exam. Who in their right mind reads all the exam questions before starting?

Well, I would. Sometimes you are only asked to answer some of them, as has been mentioned. Plus you get a general idea of the whole test, so you can work on your score optimization strategy: will I be able to answer all questions in time? If not, where would I be likely to score most points per minute. Plus, I get a feeling time-wise whether I'm doing well, gotta speed up, maybe skip some part. I find out whether I should generally BS around or could actually give real answers.

Although all those are just examples of exams, they would not help you in real life. But there I think, more often than not if I do not understand why something is run as stupidly as it is, the problem is mine, and asking would help me understand it. Usually, assuming I know the end of the instructions helps me save time, but once in a while something extraordinary happens and I'm lost.

Ulkomaalainen

I never do this. I work relatively quickly on tests, so I usually dig in on the first question, and then if I get stuck on one, I might look at the other questions to determine if I have time to look further at that particular question.

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"Better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt." -- Mark Twain

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Lady Moon
Jingle Bell Hock


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LOL count me among those who had it! Grade 8, and I can't remember what class it was! I do recall that if we had time after the test, we were to make candy canes out of beads and wire and I had made ten before the class period was up and I was the only one in the class who got it right.

Grade 8 was 1983.

I can't remember what class it was. Of the handful of memories, we're always making something. We didn't have home economics or art, so I'm really confused. LOL!

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"We've got a fifth member of the band round here, and he's DEFINITELY out of tune!" -- Keith Moon

"If I had a thousand quid for every time I've introduced this song --- oh, I do!" -- John Entwistle

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CreamyBoy
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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quote:
Originally posted by noftessa:
I had to take this test in 2nd grade (about 7 years old in the US). I failed miserable, like most of my class. Only one person "got" the test.

What I never understood (and still don't) was why were we supposed to follow question 26 when we weren't supposed to follow questions 2-26?

Question 1 said to read all the questions before doing any of them. So, if I read questions 2-26 without doing any of them, why was I supposed to follow question 26? Shouldn't I have read all the questions, and then started at question 1? What made question 26 so special that I was supposed to answer it???

It's the wording of the opening statement.
Q1 reads - "read all the questions before doing any of them". It doesn't say "don't do any of the questions". And it doesn't say "you aren't supposed to follow questions 2 - 26". It simply asks you to read all the questions before starting - at which point you'll read the final question which tells you that THAT is the only one you need to do.

If you follow the instructions as stated then it should make sense:
1) read all questions before doing any of them.
2) - 25) random questions/instructions - but don't answer yet (see q1)
26) this is the only question you have to provide a written answer for (or "do", or "perform", or however it was worded).

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Pundabaya
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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I've done both types, the one with the instruction to just put your name on the paper in the instructions at the beginning, and the one where its the last question.

It kinda has a point, reading the instructions and all the questions before you start is good exam technique.

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Lunasa
Jingle Bell Hock


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I had a prof who had a more serious version of the exam, in order to teach us all a lesson. He'd make the exam take about 1 1/4 hours, and then give us an hour to do it. The last question was the hardest, but also worth significantly more points (around 30% of the exam). If you read through the exam first, you would see the question and do it first for the points. Otherwise, you had a good chance of not passing the exam.

He passed them back, lectured us all on good exam taking procedures, and then give us all an extra 10 points to up the class GPA. Did the same thing for every exam I did with him, although we never got the extra points after that.

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"England and America are two countries divided by a common language." - George Bernard Shaw

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Jenny
I Saw Three Shipments


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quote:
Originally posted by CreamyBoy:
quote:
Originally posted by noftessa:
Question 1 said to read all the questions before doing any of them. So, if I read questions 2-26 without doing any of them, why was I supposed to follow question 26? Shouldn't I have read all the questions, and then started at question 1? What made question 26 so special that I was supposed to answer it???

It's the wording of the opening statement.
Q1 reads - "read all the questions before doing any of them". It doesn't say "don't do any of the questions". And it doesn't say "you aren't supposed to follow questions 2 - 26". It simply asks you to read all the questions before starting - at which point you'll read the final question which tells you that THAT is the only one you need to do.

If you follow the instructions as stated then it should make sense:
1) read all questions before doing any of them.
2) - 25) random questions/instructions - but don't answer yet (see q1)
26) this is the only question you have to provide a written answer for (or "do", or "perform", or however it was worded).

No, that doesn't follow at all. The rubric may say that you should read all the questions, but it does not say that Q26 takes precedence over the others. It would not logically be wrong to read all the questions and then proceed to answer them in numerical order. Indeed, if Q26 disagrees with Q2-25, then it would be more reasonable to ignore the errant Q26 than to ignore those coming before it.
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CreamyBoy
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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quote:
Originally posted by Jenny:
quote:
Originally posted by CreamyBoy:

It's the wording of the opening statement.
Q1 reads - "read all the questions before doing any of them". It doesn't say "don't do any of the questions". And it doesn't say "you aren't supposed to follow questions 2 - 26". It simply asks you to read all the questions before starting - at which point you'll read the final question which tells you that THAT is the only one you need to do.

If you follow the instructions as stated then it should make sense:
1) read all questions before doing any of them.
2) - 25) random questions/instructions - but don't answer yet (see q1)
26) this is the only question you have to provide a written answer for (or "do", or "perform", or however it was worded).

No, that doesn't follow at all. The rubric may say that you should read all the questions, but it does not say that Q26 takes precedence over the others. It would not logically be wrong to read all the questions and then proceed to answer them in numerical order. Indeed, if Q26 disagrees with Q2-25, then it would be more reasonable to ignore the errant Q26 than to ignore those coming before it.
Q1 doesn't need to tell you that Q26 takes precedence (in fact it would defeat the object of the test, because in effect it would tell you the correct solution) - the point is that question 26 tells you it takes precedence. So it would be logically wrong to read all the questions - and then, despite the latest instruction, go back to the start. I reitterate:

Instruction 1 - read all questions before doing any of them:
therefore until you have read all the questions you are sticking to instruction 1. It doesn't say ignore any of the questions, simply don't do them until you've read them all.

After performing instruction 1 - you will now have all the information from those questions that you have just read. And the very latest information will be that last question which is:

Instruction 2 - I am the only one you have to take notice of.

So it would be illogical to ignore that and go back to question one. For a start if the instruction to "read all questions first....." is actually Q1 (as presented in the post I replied to), you'd be stuck in a loop - because according to your logic you would always ignore instruction 2.

My point is - this test is generally failed because of a failure to fully comply with the instructions - not because there is faulty logic.

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thekatbird
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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One of the managers where I work gives out a similar test to prospective employees. They flunk and he hires them anyway. You can imagine the sort of people I work with.
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birdman
We Three Blings


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Perhaps part of the problem is semantical: are these instructions or questions? I think that's where the notion of precedence comes in. Question #2 is demanding to know what a hypotenuse is, but question #26 is telling you not to answer #2. So who wins? If you follow #26, then the hypotenuse remains a mystery for the ages; if you follow #2, then #26 gives you an F on the exam. [Smile]

Another wording issue: "#1: Read all the questions before answering them." OK, I read them. Now I'm supposed to answer them. So I go back to #2 and start answering them. The instructions not only said to read the questions, but also to answer them! So when #26 tells me not to do what #1 specifically told me to do, why does #26 win? Because it has a higher number?

I realize once we start getting into semantics, it would probably be better to get examples of actual trick tests and see how they word the instructions.

-birdman

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Ulkomaalainen
Jingle Bell Hock


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The question is, though, does #26 contradict any of the other ##2-25? If #1 wasn't ambiguously worded (which would be another problem) the question is, whether the whole system of questions/instructions in consistant. It would easily be, if ##2-25 were "normal" question ("Name three famous Togolese musicians", "Stand up and shout your name") that do not affect other questions/instruchtions at all. Then the only way of propositional logic to make all work would be, that #26 takes precedence.

--------------------
Movie characters never make typing mistakes.

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CreamyBoy
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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quote:
Originally posted by birdman:


Another wording issue: "#1: Read all the questions before answering them." OK, I read them. Now I'm supposed to answer them. So I go back to #2 and start answering them. The instructions not only said to read the questions, but also to answer them! So when #26 tells me not to do what #1 specifically told me to do, why does #26 win? Because it has a higher number?

-birdman

I'm really sorry to keep harping on about this - and I know it's semantics and I haven't even seen one of these tests....... but going from the wording that I replied to; it wasn't "Read all the questions before answering them" (where, at a stretch, I can see confusion arising), the wording was "read all the questions before answering any of them". This, to me, is unambiguous.

I've just noticed a post from Ulkomaalainen (came in while I was typing) - to which I thoroughly agree. If the questions 2 - 25 are contradictory then you are going to get into a conflict of logic. But as long as they're straight forward then I don't see any such conflict.

e.g.

Q1 - Read all the questions before answering any of them

Q2 - Add 335 to 5687

Q3 - Stand on your chair then sit down again

Q4 - Who was the second man on the moon

Q5 - Ignore all previous instructions, simply sign the paper and hand in for full marks.

Compare this with example 2:
Q1 - Read all the questions before answering any of them

Q2 - Ignore Q1

Q3 - etc

Q4 - etc

This then becomes troublesome from a logic point of view....... though I would say you carry on reading through all the questions before answering them as that is your original instruction (which, as you reach Q2, you have yet to complete).

The second example was purely illustrative, by the way, - I don't believe any of the so called "read the instruction" tests have been that complicated. I think the first example is more likely, and again I don't see this sort of test causing any logic problems.

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emperor_genghis_khan
Deck the Malls


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I had a college profesor pull this one on us during a History class. He handed out a 100 question long test out of the blue, instucted us to use only black pens and that we had exactly 30 minutes to do it. On the top was the usual "Raed all..." I had already gotten this test so i went staright to the last page and found........regular question, skimmed backwards about 20 questions and they were just regular questions, so i started the test around midway was the kicker "stop reading put your nme on the left side of the top and turn in the test". None of his students got ir "right"

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Excuses satisfy only those who offer them. Your enemies won't believe them and your friends don't need them.

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NobbyNobbs
Deck the Malls


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I am a high school teacher and routinely give this sort of thing at the beginning of each year. The point is not the semantics, or how foolish people look and feel. The point is a lesson in instructions. The students need to be able to do a lab properly and knwo in advance what "properly" is. This means having all necessary equipment ready to go at the start, which means reading through the instructions to find out what equipment is needed.

And regardless of semantics, from the front of the room it is easy to see which students read through the whole quiz first, as instructed, and which ones jump right in.

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Back in the days before electricity, we were forced to watch TV by candlelight.

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birdman
We Three Blings


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I think my beef is with the quality of the analogy. Like I said, I'm not sure students will make the connection between a written test and something like a recipe or lab experiment. We're used to written tests being sets of questions that are to be answered; that is, they are questions, not sets of instructions. Instructions generally appear at the beginning of the test, or each section, and apply to all questions which follow. Questions generally do not overrule the instructions, nor do they overrule other questions.

That being said, I do think it's worthwhile to teach students about reading all steps of the process before begining something like cooking or a lab. Like when a recipe gives the final step, "serve over pasta." Well it would've been nice to know about the pasta 10 minutes ago so I could have it ready when the chicken is done! But to me, this is a problem with the author of the recipe, and not a result of the student's stupidity or carelessness. This is why, whenever I find a recipe I want to use, I re-type them in chronological order. So I'll have, "3. Add the sauce to the chicken and simmer for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, boil the water for the pasta and cut up the broccoli."

Perhaps there could be a better way to get this message across than a written test. I think that's where the confusion comes in: we've been taking tests for years and years that work one way, then suddenly we get one that wants us to do it a different way for a reason that is only apparent when we fail. And the issue isn't so much "Go back in time and don't do steps 2-26" -- which is how these trick tests are often structured -- but rather an issue of time and sequence: "3. Pour the sauce into the pan. 4. Quickly add the water or the sauce will carmelize immediately. Oh, you weren't fast enough? You lose!" I just don't think you can make that point clearly with a written test.

-birdman

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NobbyNobbs
Deck the Malls


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quote:
Originally posted by birdman:
I think my beef is with the quality of the analogy. Like I said, I'm not sure students will make the connection between a written test and something like a recipe or lab experiment. We're used to written tests being sets of questions that are to be answered; that is, they are questions, not sets of instructions. Instructions generally appear at the beginning of the test, or each section, and apply to all questions which follow. Questions generally do not overrule the instructions, nor do they overrule other questions.

That being said, I do think it's worthwhile to teach students about reading all steps of the process before begining something like cooking or a lab. Like when a recipe gives the final step, "serve over pasta." Well it would've been nice to know about the pasta 10 minutes ago so I could have it ready when the chicken is done! But to me, this is a problem with the author of the recipe, and not a result of the student's stupidity or carelessness. This is why, whenever I find a recipe I want to use, I re-type them in chronological order. So I'll have, "3. Add the sauce to the chicken and simmer for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, boil the water for the pasta and cut up the broccoli."

Perhaps there could be a better way to get this message across than a written test. I think that's where the confusion comes in: we've been taking tests for years and years that work one way, then suddenly we get one that wants us to do it a different way for a reason that is only apparent when we fail. And the issue isn't so much "Go back in time and don't do steps 2-26" -- which is how these trick tests are often structured -- but rather an issue of time and sequence: "3. Pour the sauce into the pan. 4. Quickly add the water or the sauce will carmelize immediately. Oh, you weren't fast enough? You lose!" I just don't think you can make that point clearly with a written test.

-birdman

First of all, I haven't yet figured out how to split your quotes up and address each part individually, so I apologize for that.

1st point--I don't simply give them the quiz and grade it and that's that. In fact, I don't grade it at all, since it is apparent who has followed directions and who hasn't. I don't expect the students to make a direct connection, which is why we have a long discussion afterwards. We talk about how this is analogous (and however false you find the analogy, 9th graders seem to accept it) to a recipe or a lab or building a building. Simply giving a quiz is not teaching. Helping them to learn from it is.

2nd point--For you to re-write the recipe in chronological order means you must have read through the whole thing in the first place. Either you did this before you tried the recipe, and have already developed the skill we are talking about, you you did this after failing at the recipe, which means the skill needs to be developed and quizzes like mine may be useful in proving a point.

3rd point--I follow up the quiz with a "how well do you give directions" lesson. The students write down directions for making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I then follow their instructions *word for word*. This visual lesson amplifies what was taught with the written quiz.

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Back in the days before electricity, we were forced to watch TV by candlelight.

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Xia
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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quote:
Originally posted by katmack:
I heard this story a few times while I was in school and my mom reports having heard it when she was in college back in the 70s. I'm curious if anyone has first hand knowledge of this "test" or if it's simply a UL.

College, eh?
One of my teachers gave us an exam like this in grade school! I think it was 7th or 8th grade. IIRC many of us "got it" immediately. I know I did.

The teacher told us to read all directions. The directions at the top said to read the entire test before beginning. The last question or a disclaimer on the test (not sure if it was a question or a 'direction' but it was at the bottom of the page) said to put your name on the paper and not to answer any of the other questions.

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Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.

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Ulkomaalainen
Jingle Bell Hock


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Some more things to add:

quote:
Originally posted by birdman:
We're used to written tests being sets of questions that are to be answered; that is, they are questions, not sets of instructions. Instructions generally appear at the beginning of the test, or each section, and apply to all questions which follow. Questions generally do not overrule the instructions, nor do they overrule other questions.

Yes, we're used to that. This is what this test should be about, getting people to rethink precisely this.

quote:
Originally posted by birdman:
Well it would've been nice to know about the pasta 10 minutes ago so I could have it ready when the chicken is done! But to me, this is a problem with the author of the recipe, and not a result of the student's stupidity or carelessness.

I'd judge it both. True, this is an example of the author not being able to write proper instructions (as the proper instructions for said test would read "1) Do not answer anything", not "26)...", as it is the first thing you ought to know. But - there are bad instructions, and when you follow them before you thoroughly understand themy and they do not work out, the damage may be done. So it's your responsibility to check that the author isn't a complete moron. Sometimes you have to make up for other people's mistakes if you do not want damage to occur. Sitting back and saying "but that is not my fault" ain't the best strategy either [Smile]

quote:
Originally posted by birdman:
This is why, whenever I find a recipe I want to use, I re-type them in chronological order. So I'll have, "3. Add the sauce to the chicken and simmer for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, boil the water for the pasta and cut up the broccoli."

As has been said: this implies that you read and understood the instructions before. This is what you would be required to do [Smile]

Bye
Ulko "no cooking instructions would help anyway" maalainen

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Movie characters never make typing mistakes.

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birdman
We Three Blings


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Yes, but see, to me, something like rewriting a recipe (or as someone else suggested, writing directions on how to make a sandwich -- we did something similar on how to wrap a gift box) is a much more concrete analogy and directly gets the message across. Again, a recipe is a set of instructions; a written test is not. It's fine to sit down and talk about it afterwards -- we did too -- but I was always left wondering "when else in life am I going to be given a trick test like this?"

So, I lied: it's not that students don't make the connection; apparently they do, according to the teachers in this thread. It's just that I personally did not make the connection until I read this thread and had it explained to me. [Smile] I guess I'd prefer a more relevant analogy, if this is the message we're trying to get across. The point was obviously lost on me in 5th/8th/9th grades.

-birdman

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Two Scoops
We Wish You a Merry Giftmas


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I got this test in 10th grade science class. It was basically the same except for the last "question" was to write nothing on the paper. That's all well and good, except that I've had it drilled into me all my life to put my name on anything I receive from the teacher. That and putting your name on something like that just makes sense. I read through it, got the the last question about putting nothing on the paper and it boggled me. I read all the instructions, but I still didn't do it correctly because we weren't even supposed to put an identifier on the page.
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lazerus the duck
The First USA Noel


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I was on a performing arts course where before the main production we were given a contract to take away read and sign, stating we wouldn't change our appearence etc. (Usual stuff for a perfoming arts contract). Also tucked away in their was the promise we would buy all the teaching staff a drink at the end of the year. I did read the contract and informed the rest of the class about the clause.
When we handed them all back the the teacher smugly told us about the clause and pontificated about the importance of reading a contract to which we asked him to read the contracts we had signed. We had retyped and printed the contract without the offending clause.

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All the world's a face, And all the men and women merely acne.

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Kage Tenshi
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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Well, here in Brazil exist a version of this test...
A word´s play...

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Mormegil
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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I took this kind of test in elementary school, and was one of the few to see through it right away. I "passed," but even then I knew the test itself was bogus.

What we got was a test that just said "TEST" or something at the top and then a long list of instructions, with the last being the one you're obviously supposed to follow. But does it actually make any sense?

Rather than let questions 2 through 82 or 2 through 26 or whatever cloud the issue, let's compress all the "don't really do these" questions to a single instruction.

TEST

1. Read all of the instructions before following them.
2. What is 5 + 9? _______
3. Ignore the previous instructions, write your initials on this line, and turn in the paper. ____


So, I sit down to take the test, and read instruction 1. To follow it, I read instructions 2 and 3. After reading instruction 3, I AM NOW FINISHED WITH #1 and should procede to #2! And instruction three simply makes the test itself self-contradictory!

Imagine a test like this:

1. Read #2 and #3.
2. Say your name out loud.
3. Don't do it.

Is that a fair test? How is it possible to follow all three instructions? It isn't. So why would #3 take precedence over #2? If the test was this:

#1. Say your name.
#2. Don't do it.

All would admit that there is no reason #2 should be obeyed and not #1. If anything, #1 takes precedence because it comes first... which is what taking precedence means! So it's a bogus test.

So in the 3-question test, it *must* be question 1 that empowers #3 to take precedence over #2, if anything does.

But... it doesn't do that!

It says to *read* the questions. That's all it says. It doesn't give #3 any special powers, and it doesn't say to follow the questions.

Sure, it's obvious what the test-maker is *trying* to do, but they have committed a logical fallacy and made a self-contradictory (and therefore trick, and unfair) test.

And I knew this in elementary school.

If the "trick" comes at the beginning of the test, we get the desired result without the illogic. The opening post has a test with unobtrusive text at the beginning that says "don't answer the questions, just write your name and turn it in." That is fair. If people ignore that, it'll teach them a lesson.

Posts: 44 | From: San Bruno, CA | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Squishy0405
Wii Wiish You A Merry Chriistmas


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I haven't read any of the thread but there was a test or homework in elementary (i think my little brother had one too) that it says "read the directions completley before doing anything" and if you did you only drew a triangle. I think all but one person (cant remeber) had green dots and blue circles and got to the end like CRAP! [Razz]

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"Fate is like a strange, unpopular resturant, filled with odd waiters who bring you things you never ask for and don't always like."-Lemony Snicket

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Oy vey iz mir
Deck the Malls


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quote:
Originally posted by StewPot:
I had a test like this too in fourth grade... I think there were only two or three of us that did it right. I certainly felt smug watching my classmates attempt some of those things.

We had a test like this in fifth grade as well, except there were only two people in the class who failed to note the instructions. They couldn't figure out why everyone else was laughing.
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Tabbymago
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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quote:
Originally posted by Squishy0405:
I haven't read any of the thread but

Is this priceless, or is this priceless?

-Tabby
the princess with claws

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If you don't appreciate the irony, the irony appreciates.

"Sappiness and medieval violence: it's a wonderful combination. Like chocolate and peanut butter for the mind." -me on my fantasy novel-in-progress

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noftessa
We Wish You a Merry Giftmas


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I'm fairly certain it is priceless.

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Dude, do we want to discuss why I was just hit in the head with a thumb?

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Squishy0405
Wii Wiish You A Merry Chriistmas


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Please don't confuse the mommy [Roll Eyes]
I did read it, after I posted...

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"Fate is like a strange, unpopular resturant, filled with odd waiters who bring you things you never ask for and don't always like."-Lemony Snicket

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the Virgin Marrya
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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quote:
Originally posted by Squishy0405:
Please don't confuse the mommy [Roll Eyes]
I did read it, after I posted...

Common message board courtesy aside, do you really not see the irony in your failure to read THIS SPECIFIC THREAD before standing on your chair to recite the national anthem, turning a cartwheel, clapping your hands, saying your name aloud...
26] read the entire thread before posting ...?

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Windows cannot open this file. To open this file correctly, defenestrate, then try running the file again...

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Squishy0405
Wii Wiish You A Merry Chriistmas


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Well I was tired of being spanked, so I posted what I thought of when I read the topic...me do a cartwheel...that's a good one.

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"Fate is like a strange, unpopular resturant, filled with odd waiters who bring you things you never ask for and don't always like."-Lemony Snicket

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Kelfa21
Turkey Largo


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how hilarious...I took that test when I was in fifth grade and only two people sat, silently and looked around the room at everyone acting like idiots....making noises like chickens, counting backwards from ten aloud, spelling your name out loud, drawing crazy designs all over the test...unfortuantly...I wasnt one of the two who listened but my best friend was.

It was weird how if one person got the nerve to speak aloud during the test because it told him to...everyone else thought it was okay to jump on the bandwagon...my teacher said she wished she had video taped the whole ordeal because it was probably the funniest thing she had ever witnessed.

A few years later in eighth grade another teacher gave a similar test out and of course the same chaos ensued...the theory was so she could teach us how to read instructions for the upcoming, brand spanking new MCAS exams being given to all 4th, 8th and 10th graders in massachusetts...we were the guinea pigs...anyway, I felt a little bit of pride as the teacher saw me sit silently and watch and she smiled at me...too bad I already knew what the joke was...

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If God was a college student he would not have created the world in seven days. He would have slacked off for six and then pulled an all-nighter

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Radical Dory
God Rest Ye Merry Retail Clerks


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I was constantly given those through all of my levels of schooling. It was obvious in middle school that a group of teachers had gotten their from the same source and they all insisted on making each class do it. I was always tempted to write, "Do I really have to take this test if I've already passed it three times today?"

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"But about the reindeer...what kind of a nose shines? How did he get it? Maybe it's not a reindeer after all. It could be something else."

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c p
...


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The first time I remember taking this was in 4th grade, and I was confused by the fact that the last question did not include the number of the last question in the list of numbers to follow. I upset my teacher by saying something like "well you were trying to trick us anyway" because I went ahead and did all of the weird things and then wrote a small essay on the back about completeness of instructions.

then I took it again 6 times in 7th grade, 6 times in 8th grade, and probably 54 times in high school and I think it's really getting kind of old. It's kind of to the point that if it were part of a job interview I'd decline the job on the grounds of being unable to work with people who put so much stock in silly tests. (It would be just as easy to go on Quizilla and let them know which Death Cab for Cutie song I am...)

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"dwight, what's your middle name?"
"danger."

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Bunion
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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One place I worked at the operations manager used to hand out a small piece of paper with the application and on this piece of paper it said something like this (sorry if I can't remember exactly but it has been 20 years)

-------------------------------------

Read All Instructions Before filling out form.

Name: _____________________
Address:____________________
____________________
Phone: ____________________

1. Put your last name first, first name last.
2. Write your address in pencil
3. Put area code after phone number

----------------------------------


Anyway probably 80-90% of the people would fill out the form incorrectly. They would just see the name address and phone number and fill it in like they would with any form with out reading the instructions. Or they would fill it out first then read the instructions and go back and try to fix it.

I guess this was just to see if people could indeed follow instructions. Even at my current job I will see people totally misread policies or a memo will come out and they don't read it all the way and end up thinking it is the exact opposite of what it actually says.

Bunion

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You get more of what you want with a kind word and a gun then you do with a kind word alone.

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birdman
We Three Blings


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I thought I'd resurrect the thread for this item I read in our newspaper today (full article can be found here).

quote:
Students answered one essay question, then a series of multiple choice questions and short-answer questions before encountering a page that said "this page was intentionally left blank."

A second essay question -- worth 18 of the test's 48 total points -- came after the blank page. However, some students thought the blank page signaled the end of the test, the department said. It was meant to provide space to compose a draft.

The test's booklet, as well as instructions that proctors read to students, clearly said the exam has two essay questions, department spokesman J.C. Benton said. The last page of the test is marked with a "STOP" symbol.

"We certainly sympathize, but reading and following directions is something that apparently needs to be learned by both students and testing administrators," Benton said.

Well, Mr. Benton, apparently you don't sympathize, since you place the blame on the test-takers and administrators rather than the test-writers. Since the problem was unintentional, there's really no harm in fixing it, even if it "only" affects a few students. Similar with the famed butterfly ballots in Florida: yeah, we can sit back and get our jollies feeling superior to the idiots who improperly read the ballot... or we can admit there might be some confusion for some people and fix it. My suggestion would be to change the blank page to read, "This page left blank for rough drafts" or something similar.

If anything, what students can learn from this experience is to be alert for such things (on tests and elsewhere in life), knowing that others won't take responsibility for poor instructions. I think that's a valuable lesson anyway, and the cost is fairly low in this case since they have multiple opportunities to take the OGT.

-birdman

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Franny
Jingle Bell Hock


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When I was teaching I would regularly bury hints for answers in the directions for tests. Students that paid attention and read their directions, as instructed, were rewarded.

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I've been waiting here for like 20 minutes.

"It's you, but distilled into one place." - JK. http://www.theheldhand.blogspot.com/

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