Bill Gates asked for it, but I don't think he can handle it.
On Monday I lost an hour of class time (which is a HUGE loss considering the kind of pressure we teachers are under these days) by having my students take the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Youth Truth Survey. This annoyed me for several reasons, but I will withhold my opinions and let the kids speak for me.
Anyway, the survey was only supposed to take 20 minutes, but it was quite long and repetitive. That was the first problem. The second problem is that it was written for kids with actual high school reading levels. The biggest problem was that the kids had to type out explanations for several of their choices. My kids, being master manipulators, tried to get around this by going back and changing their answers, hoping to choose the "right" answer, which would allow them to skip the explanation part. (In their defense, the explanations were unnecessary..."You said getting extra help from the teacher after school would help you succeed. Explain why getting extra help from the teacher after school would help you." Seriously?)
Needless to say, they were frustrated about 15 minutes and 3 questions into the thing. To expedite the process, and to prevent anyone from defacing the library computer lab out of spite, I read the survey to several of the kids. This is an actual conversation I had with "J" while helping him through the Youth Truth survey.
Me: (reading from the survey) "Do you feel that you will have better opportunities after graduation because of what your school has done for you?"
"J": "What's an opportunities?"
Me: "Opportunities are like chances to do something you'd like to do."
"J": "Like what?"
Me: "Like go to college, or culinary school, or be a mechanic, or a comedian."
"J": "Helllllls yeah!" (clicks "yes")
Me: (reading from survey) "You indicated that you feel that you will have better opportunities after graduation because of what your school has done for you. Explain why you think you will have better opportunities after graduation."
"J": (Clicks the back button, clicks no) "Awww man!"
Me: "You're going to have to explain your answer either way."
"J": (sighs, starts typing out his answer)"Does this crazy white guy think he's cool 'cuz he made this survey? He's white, right?"
Me: "He just wants to know how you feel about your school."
"J": (finishes typing) "Ok...next question."
Me: (reading from survey) "Which of the following changes could your school make to help you be more successful in school?"
"J": (clicks on a response)
Me: "You indicated that challenging and relevant course offerings could help you be more successful in school. Explain why challenging and relevant course offerings could help you be more successful."
"J": "Ai ai ai...Did he go to fancy college or what? I can't hardly understand him." (starts typing)
Me: "He went for a little while, but he didn't graduate."
"J": (whips his head around, shocked)"What the - ! Are you serious?!"
"J": "That's it! I'm not using any capitals OR periods!" (deletes response, and retypes with NO caps and NO periods)
Me: (reading) "You're almost done. Before you finish, is there anything you'd like to tell us?"
"J": (typing) "giv me monny"