Education

State Journal

December 12, 2001 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

‘I’m Stupid?’

Students have boycotted them. Others lose sleep and bite their nails before going to battle armed only with their No. 2 pencils. But some high school students in Massachusetts have turned their anxiety and anger about the state’s high-stakes exams into protest art.

Eleven girls from Brockton High School created an interactive-media exhibit called “This is A Test: A Teen Response to Standardized Testing.” It makes not- so-subtle points about the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System, a set of exams students must pass in mathematics and English in order to graduate, beginning in 2003.

Designed to look like a girl’s bedroom, the exhibit features a bed covered with hundreds of sharpened pencils, while a desk is suspended from the ceiling. Written in red letters on the desk is “Help.” Loudspeakers pipe in student voices asking questions like “My teacher didn’t teach me this; does that mean I’m stupid?”

Different MCAS levels are represented by dresser drawers labeled “warning,” “needs improvement,” or “advanced.” A blackboard asks philosophical questions students would never see on a state test, such as “What is loyalty?” The questions express the students’ view that exams can’t get at the essence of education and learning.

All of the 10th graders who worked on the project passed the MCAS. Younger students involved have not yet taken the exam.

The exhibit is touring local museums. “People have said, ‘We hear you. We feel your anxiety,’ ” said Margaret B. Tittemore, a coordinator at the Fuller Museum in Brockton who helped guide the students as they worked on the project over the summer. “It’s been great. It’s very rare that students have a voice.” Ms. Tittemore said the exhibit has been well-received.

Not everyone was so admiring, however. One written comment left by an unidentified 63-year-old woman described the girls as “lazy” and “whining” about life. It’s not clear whether she used a No. 2 pencil.

—John Gehring

A version of this article appeared in the December 12, 2001 edition of Education Week

Events

Jobs October 2021 Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Data Webinar
Using Integrated Analytics To Uncover Student Needs
Overwhelmed by data? Learn how an integrated approach to data analytics can help.

Content provided by Instructure
Classroom Technology Webinar How Pandemic Tech Is (and Is Not) Transforming K-12 Schools
The COVID-19 pandemic—and the resulting rise in virtual learning and big investments in digital learning tools— helped educators propel their technology skills to the next level. Teachers have become more adept at using learning management

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Senators Put YouTube, TikTok, Snapchat on the Defensive on Kids' Online Safety
Senators questioned executives from YouTube, TikTok, and Snapchat about what they’re doing to ensure young users’ safety on their platforms.
5 min read
The Youtube, left, and Snapchat apps on a mobile device in New York, on Aug. 9, 2017. The leaders of a Senate panel have called executives from YouTube, TikTok and Snapchat to face questions on what the companies are doing to ensure young users’ safety. The hearing Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021, comes as the panel bears down on hugely popular social media platforms and their impact on children.
The Youtube, left, and Snapchat apps on a mobile device in New York, on Aug. 9, 2017. The leaders of a Senate panel have called executives from YouTube, TikTok and Snapchat to face questions on what the companies are doing to ensure young users’ safety. The hearing Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021, comes as the panel bears down on hugely popular social media platforms and their impact on children.
Richard Drew/AP
Education Briefly Stated: October 27, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Vulnerable Students Left Behind as Schooling Disruptions Continue
The effects of unpredictable stretches at home can mirror those of chronic absenteeism and lead to long-term harm to learning.
4 min read
Students board a school bus on New York's Upper West Side on Sept. 13, 2021. Even as most students return to learning in the classroom this school year, disruptions to in-person learning, from missing one day because of a late school bus to an entire two weeks at home due to quarantine, remain inevitable as families and educators navigate the ongoing pandemic.
Students board a school bus on New York's Upper West Side on Sept. 13, 2021. Even as most students return to learning in the classroom this school year, disruptions to in-person learning, from missing one day because of a late school bus to an entire two weeks at home due to quarantine, remain inevitable as families and educators navigate the ongoing pandemic.
Richard Drew/AP
Education 'Widespread' Racial Harassment Found at Utah School District
The federal probe found hundreds of documented uses of the N-word and other racial epithets, and harsher discipline for students of color.
1 min read
A CNG, compressed natural gas, school bus is shown at the Utah State Capitol, Monday, March 4, 2013, in Salt Lake City. After a winter with back-to back episodes of severe pollution in northern Utah, lawmakers and Utah Gov. Gary Herbert will discuss clean air legislation and call for government and businesses to convert to clean fuel vehicles.
Federal civil rights investigators found widespread racial harassment of Black and Asian American students in the Davis school district north of Salt Lake City, Utah.
Rick Bowmer/AP Photo