Yeah, I quoted W.B. Yeats there, and I didn't put quotation marks around the phrase I quoted, and if I wrote an essay I'd lose points. But I could express ideas.
If I could figure out on a standardized test that the title needed quotation marks, I'd be golden.
I have a one in four chance of getting that question right.
I could write an essay in which I could quote the poem, and if someone could read my essay and I talked about what is now slouching towards Bethlehem (another quote) metaphorically and why it matters that there is a bird of prey and why the words "slouch" and "rough beast" are some of the most ominous, creep-inducing words in the English language, I could show my words and my thinking
My words and my thinking do not matter.
I can only choose one of four answers to show my writing skills and ideas.
I went on a field trip to the California Department of Education website. No, I am not providing the link here, because part of the fun of taking a field trip is getting there.
At least that should be part of the fun.
Here is a quote for you:
"The following seven California English-Language Arts content standards are included in the Writing Strategies strand/cluster and are represented in this booklet by 25 test questions for grade 9. These questions represent only some ways in which these standards may be assessed on the Grade 9 California English-Language Arts Standards Test."
I know this is exhilarating. But wait, there's more.
Here is Standard 9WS1.0:
"WRITING STRATEGIES: Students write coherent and focused essays that convey a well-defined perspective and tightly reasoned argument. The writing demonstrates students' awareness of the audience and purpose. Students progress through the stages of the writing process as needed."
You gotta answer twenty-five questions that SHOW you know how to write a coherent and focused essay?
There are questions about the writing process?
But you don't actually WRITE?
Well slap me twice and hand me to my mother.
All those English teachers out there, slaving over essay after essay, why don't you just make up a multiple choice test?
I spent years grading papers at night and on weekends.No wonder no one asks me to help make these tests!
Make it up to your kids by taking them to a bookstore and letting them choose a Good Book that they will never be tested on.
Make it happen.