Who Was Hitched to Caesar's Woman?

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The correct answer to the question "Who is buried in Grant's tomb?" is a) Yogi Bear; b) Grant; c) your mama.

If you answered anything other than "c" (your mama), you have earned one wrong answer on "The In Your Face Test of No Certain Skills," a test of basic-level street lingo devised by a class of 9th-grade basic-English students at Hill High School in Winston-Salem, N.C. (The correct answer, by the way, might start a fistfight on most high-school playgrounds.)

Robert P. Slater, an English teacher whose class devised the test "strictly for fun," said his students decided to produce the test after having a certain amount of trouble with the language on a standardized test produced by McGraw-Hill Inc.

The students' test asks for a definition of many "standard" street terms, such as "Chill Pill," for which it provides these choices: a) a pork chop; b) a fat lady; c) Batman's shoes; and d) to be cool. (The answer is "d".)

The class sent the test to McGraw-Hill in Monterey, Calif., and eight employees there completed and returned it. The employees did better than the students expected; their scores ranged from 73 to 85.

Mr. Slater said his students were trying to demonstrate, in a semi-serious way, that they and McGraw-Hill employees do not necessarily speak the same language. He did not expect the media avalanche that fol-lowed, however. "There is no segment of the media that I haven't heard from about this," he said.

"Please do not turn this into something it isn't," he added. "This started out as a joke, but some are trying to make more out of it than it is."

For example, he said, one radio reporter suggested that Mr. Slater was trying to oppress the students by teaching them substandard English.

Vol. 02, Issue 31

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