Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Grading the 2010 AP English Language Exam: Eyesores

This is the fourth of a five-part series on the mysteries and realities of the AP English Language Exam and its grading process. For more on the marathon that is AP exam grading, see Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 5 (coming soon).

During a week in Louisville, I spent 53 hours reading student essays that were recorded in illegible scrawls requiring intense eyestrain to decipher. During that time, I graded more than 2,000 exams, spending a little less than a minute on each essay. I quickly grew tired of reading about Jon Stewart, Wanda Sykes, Chris Rock, Larry the Cable Guy, Tina Fey, and a slew of humorists I had never heard of before my arrival in Louisville. The only thing that pulled me through this slog of essays was the occasional gem in the rough, an essay whose unintentional comedy would lead to laughter. Let me share with you the last of these gems which students thought would impress exam readers:

The following are excerpts from actual exams; each excerpt is in italics, with my commentary in normal typeface.

I think that humorists are to entertain and nothing else. If they were trying to send a message, wouldn’t they get a reply?

Because television hosts like Stewart and Colbert are seen by millions, they know what they’re talking about. Sure—and because the National Enquirer is read by millions, I believe that aliens have abducted Britney Spears.
Glenn Beck is a giant jerk.
If he hear me tell a joke like that, he slap me faster than two jiggles of a jackrabbit’s ass. HUH?
My brother and I are demon hunters who drive around the country in our 1967 Impala fighting the forces of evil. You know, suddenly the National Enquirer is looking a lot more credible.
There are those who don’t like comedians because they take offense and one should not be so touch-e. You know what? Touché.
There’s songs out that reveal people are devil worshippers. What is it with the demons and devils? Were these students possessed?
For example, “Mary! Mary! How does your garden grow, filled with trash and gum wads.” This portrays how her sidewalks are filled litter. Dude—quit forcing Captain Planet onto Mother Goose!
In my lifetime I have lived in a family of foolish people. Which explains you.
Once a stand up comic such as Adam Sandler expressed the fact of him never being able to make a woman orgasim this put many people to understand that ‘your not alone.’ (Shaking head)
Like a political cartoon on Obama that had mooses and elephants to represent the Republican and Democrat Party. Donkeys—Elephants and donkeys. And the plural is moose.
• But my favorite: Comedians point out the ugly truth so that even the airhead bimbo who wrote a similar paper to the one your reading now can understand the subliminal message. Their ability to humorously attack the wishy-washy statements of government without getting pimpslapped by federal agents is what makes humor’s role in society extremely vital. Now you’re talking—students who are bimbos writing about comedians getting pimpslapped—that’s more like academic discourse!

For more, see Part 3: Assimilation, or Part 5: Sample Essays (coming soon)!


Amazon Mama said...

Oh my gosh, I'm laughing so hard. I'm so glad you recorded these!

Becky said...

I'm LAUGHING...your comments are HILARIOUS! "Dude—quit forcing Captain Planet onto Mother Goose!" That's pretty much my fav. Love you!

Jo Jo said...

I've been curious five times over. How did you copy these?

The Mormon Monk said...


I found one of these gems every half hour or so--I just took 10 seconds and jotted them down on a scrap pad that was provided.