retail news in context, analysis with attitude

There are a lot of things for sale on Amazon.com.

But test answers? Didn’t see that one coming...

The Los Angeles Times reports that 10 high school students in Newport Beach, California, were able to essentially buy the answers to a sophomore history exam by paying for “so-called test banks, which provide chapter-by-chapter questions for tests, which textbook publishers provide to ensure teachers craft exams that properly assess student learning.”

No decision has been made about disciplining the students, and the publisher has taken the test banks off Amazon’s site.
KC's View:
Sure, the offending students ought to be forced to take another test for which they don’t know the questions. That seems only fair.

But at some level, maybe they ought to be cited for imaginative and entrepreneurial thinking. I never would have thought to look for the test guides on Amazon. And I think you could make the argument - and I’ll probably get a lot of grief for this, especially from Mrs. Content Guy, who is a teacher - that these kids were a lot more imaginative than the teachers, who relied on canned questions and answers to assess what their students knew. I’ve always hated it when teachers taught from the book and gave tests from the book; I always felt, as a student, that they were asking me for more effort than they were willing to give.

Besides...isn’t it possible that these kids were just emulating James T. Kirk, who beat the Kobayashi Maru test, and said, “I changed the conditions of the test; got a commendation for original thinking. I don't like to lose.”