We had a “pop” quiz in my regular US History and Government II classes today, there are four sections for that course. I usually change the quizzes in some fashion, either rearrange answer choices, vary the questions, change essay topics, there is USUALLY some difference between the classes. Today was no different, I once again shifted questions between classes.
A student from one of my earlier classes came into a later class to collect homework for a friend who was absent. From across the room I hear the comment, “You lied about that.” Taken aback, I looked around the room to see what precipitated the comments and to whom they were directed. The comment came across again, “You lied about that.” The student from the earlier class responded promptly, “No, I didn’t.”
Part of the situation was was now clear, I knew who had issues, but did not know what the issues were or why they existed. I stepped in verbally with a comment. “It was ‘Axis’.” came from across the room. “No, it was Allies.” replied the student standing next to me.
The picture snapped into focus and I relaxed and let the students “argue” for the next minute or so, with my sudden smile almost turning into laughter. The quiz questions had been shared, either in person or through social media, and the difference had thrown students off. This was the point of contention between the students.
I asked a few questions of the class and was amazed to find out that the students have been taking quizzes, tests, and answering open-note writing prompts since early September and had no idea that all of those exercises have been tweaked and adjusted between class periods. I explained how the items are changed and saw many students with incredulous looks upon their faces. Many seemed truly surprised that I would do such a thing.
I explained that way back in the dark ages of the 1970’s and 1980’s, my friends and I also exchanged information about tests, quizzes, and other random assignments, however we did not have social media to spread the word. I also explained that switching up items on assignments is not new, I am fairly certain my teachers did it back in the dark ages, as did many teachers before them. It was an interesting scene to watch and even more interesting fact to learn about my students.