Where there are tests, there will be cheaters, and if the teachers are being judged by the efforts of their students, there will be teachers who cheat, too.  In order to help their students on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test for writing, some teachers are having them memorize stock phrases with which to populate their essays.  Formulaic writing to the nth degree.  The practice is common enough that exam graders are finding the same phrases—odd phrases, such as "one quintessential, supersonic day"—on exams throughout the state.

I'm not sure which is worse, that the teachers might be cheating, or that they might actually think this is what leads to good writing.  And to think I felt guilty when our previously homeschooled kids shocked their first high school English teacher by not knowing what a "five paragraph essay" was.
Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, December 6, 2008 at 8:57 pm | Edit
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