Saturday, May 12, 2007

I got 40 hours this week!

Some good news on the work-at-home front. I actually worked a full 40-hour week this FOUR days! I can't believe it!

This is a new project and takes more time than the last project because there is more to look for. It's scoring a math word-problem. I am not at liberty to write about the contents of the question I am scoring, but I can give a bit of vague highlights about what I do.

I get up at 6 a.m. and allow myself a little time to wake up, get some coffee, take a quick shower, get dressed, make a bowl of oatmeal and then I log on. Each day that I logged in, I expected to at sometime to get the "no more work available" message, but it didn't happen. In fact, they seem to be a bit behind for this one. That is because it's a four-part word problem and kids can think of every kind of way to work out a problem, and many of them are wrong and confused. It is my job to untangle the mess of their written thoughts and answers...and the occasional comical drawings that go along with their answers.

I need to find four things for four points. It's frustrating when they illustrate three things and are so close to getting a full four points and do something stupid like invert the numbers, or guess and write something totally off-the -wall, causing them to not get a perfect score. Or they make a simple mistake in addition, like 40 + 20 = 80. Grrrr! I think it's because they are in such a rush and under pressure to get through these answers that they don't take time to proofread what they write down.

It's ironic that I work for a test-scoring company when I am against these standardized "memorization and regurgitation" tests. It takes precious time away from real education and we can see from much of the way they express themselves in these tests that they are lacking in the areas of spelling, grammar and basic math...bigtime! It's not just one or two students I am talking about, I would say it's more than 60%. These are 8th graders and many of them have the writing and math aptitude of a 5th grader.

Some kids are good at these things and have memorized well, and will probably grow up to be presidents and CEOs of companies because they know how to play the game...or at least are good at doing exactly what they are told. On the other hand, one can tell who the daydreamers are, whose minds wander throughout the memorization drills of "test preparation". If they are like I was when I was young, they think about other things they would rather be doing or places they would rather be than sitting in a boring-ass classroom listening to a teacher drone on and on while "reviewing" the test material.

I feel sorry for kids in the public school systems.

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