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'What Is Nelly's Real Name?' Students School Adults On Standardized Testing

Susan Notes: Take the test--if you dare. I flunked.


Written by teens, the GAG Test assesses knowledge of popular youth culture.

Can you find South Park on a map of the U.S.? Do you know Nelly's real name? How about the names of SpongeBob SquarePants' favorite superheroes? Would you be willing to take a standardized test to prove it?

Students across the country who are subjected to dull standardized tests every year decided to turn the tables by creating their own test to find out how much their parents, teachers, principals and other adults know about the average teenager's world. It turns out, most adults are pretty clueless.

The General Assessment of Grownups (a.k.a. GAG) Test is full of information the students figured just about every young person in the country should know. The teens who put together the quiz guessed that every young person should easily be able to answer multiple-choice questions like "What does LOL mean," "Where is Eminem from," and "Who is the main star in 'Mean Girls.'"

"Any kid who is into mainstream music, video games, and TV which is the majority of youth today could easily ace this test," Zachary Miller of La Junta, Colorado, a 16-year-old who got an A on the test, said in a statement. "As for grownups, I think they would have a very hard time getting even one question right."

For the most part, Zachary was right.

In fact, according to Cheryl Miller Thurston, the owner of the teaching resource Cottonwood Press, which put together the test, most adults over the age of 30 who took the test scored in the "D" or "F" range, which won them negative reinforcement messages like: "Dump the parental lock and watch some MTV now and then," and "Where have you been for the last few decades?" respectively.

The test was the brainchild of Cottonwood, which, last November, asked teachers who use the service to have their students compose questions they felt most young people could easily answer. Those questions were reviewed and made into a 50-question test by Cottonwood.

The point of the test?

"To show how silly test-taking can be," said Thurston. "There's so much in the world to know and it's almost in a sense random to decide what people should be tested on. Who's to say that knowing where South Park is located is any more important than any other information out there?"

Thurston is concerned about the heavy focus on standardized testing and says that what young people really learn from their teachers isn't measured in a test. "When you think of what they have taught us," she said, "it's not what we learned from tests. It's a viewpoint of the world, something that can't be measured in a test."

Though there's currently no way for Cottonwood to know how visitors to the Web site are scoring on their test, Thurston says they are working on putting together a system to compile results and find out who really knows more about pop culture.

Find out how you measure up:

https://secure.cottonwoodpress.com/misc/cwp_test.php



— Alyssa Rashbaum
MTV News
2005-02-11
http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1496853/20050211/nelly.jhtml?headlines=true


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