Mr. Reeder’s Quizzes

March 31, 2011 08:11 – 08:11

In one of my 12th grade English classes at Edison High School, Mr. Reeder gave a 10 item multiple choice quiz every day. He gave the same quiz to every class throughout the day. By 2nd period, strips of paper containing the correct answer sequence (e.g., adebcaabde) were in wide circulation, particularly among the jocks. As the day progressed, the scores improved.

We never really knew whether Mr. Reeder knew what was happening, until…

One day, a saboteur gave a jock all the right answers, but in reverse order. In grading the jock’s quiz, Mr. Reeder said “Mr. Smith. You have all of the right answers, but they are exactly backwards. So, I’m giving you a B instead of an A.”

The quizzes were so ridiculously easy to begin with that anyone who’d read the assigned work at all would get 100%. Questions like… “Who is the main character in Hamlet?” and “What two lovers tragically die at the end of Romeo and Juliet?” or “What is the correct spelling of Faustus?”

There never were any trick questions. Mr. Reeder just wanted us to read the material–and we re-read everything in class, as well. He would go down each column of desks, each of us reading a passage, then go back to the beginning of the class and continue until we reached the end. We were encouraged to read in character, as well, which was great practice for developing not only public speaking skills, but character voices and accents, as well. That class was the most enjoyable class I had at Edison.

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