My son sent me a link to a post about some awfully stupid answers found on the AP American Government Exam. Since I teach that course, the matter is of interest to me. Herewith:
A friend of mine had the unenviable task of grading essays for the U.S. Government Advanced Placement Exam. My friend was kind enough to make some notes of the more, shall we say, creative responses written by these so-called advanced high school students. Some of the answers are just priceless (and by priceless I really mean worthless).
First off, here is the question:
"Despite the ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment, voter turnout among African American citizens was very low throughout the first half of the twentieth century. Over the past 50 years, civil rights policies have changed substantially, along with a significant increase in African American voter turnout.
(a) Explain how two measures taken by some states prior to the 1960s affected voter turnout among African American citizens.
(b) Facing discrimination at the voting booth, many African American citizens turned to alternative forms of political participation. Describe two alternative forms of participation that helped bring about changes in civil rights policies.
(c) Choose one of the forms of participation you described in (b) and explain why it was effective in changing civil rights policies."
Let the stupidity begin...
- The Separate But Equal Act was set forth in Marbury v. Madison.
- Separate But Equal made morality low among African Americans.
- African American voting booths were not as nice as white voting booths.
- African American voter turnout was effected by discrimination in the tool booth.
- In a measure taken to limit voter turn out, Martin Luther King was assonated. Many African Americans were not happy.
- Bonuses were provided and free food and drink provided to encourage low income voters to vote.
- Most African Americans did not vote because they hated the white man.
- African Americans turned to other vices for political participation.
- African Americans turned to alternate forms of political participation such as the creation of the AARP.
- Protesters gained national sympathy when we saw the violence against blacks committed by agents of the federal government such as state police.
- States imposed high poll tolls on voting booths.
- Literary tests administered to African American voters were a lot like this exam.
- The African Americans were administered unfair “litteracy” tests. (with two “t”s)
- No African American in the first half of the 20th century was allowed to go to school.
- If some African Americans went around saying “Billy Bob will make us equal,” then African Americans would vote for Billy Bob.
- Strom Thurman was the first black man in Congress.
Wow. Warning: don't think about these responses too long or blood will shoot out of your nose.
I fear for this country if this is what ADVANCED PLACEMENT high school students are writing. It makes me question whether going into academia is the right career choice. What happens when these kids reach college and they are expected to learn complex concepts? Must...prevent...nose bleed...
Let me be clear: I'm sure none of my students would ever write such uninformed answers.