My friend and occasional arch-nemesis Toby and I have a running feud over which testing method is superior: Essays or Multiple Choice. Toby, because he enjoys "words" goes with essays, while I go with multiple choice. If I had to be honest, I would say that I think that a mix of the two is probably the best way to go, a sentiment that I am sure Toby will agree with. Particularly so now that I have put him on the spot.
Anyway, while looking for stuff to write about, I found this page:
Contained therein are some snippets of essays that various students have written. It's pretty funny, except when you stop to think that some of these things were written by college students. Let me give you my top 5 sentences from the list:
1. Voltare invented electricity and also wrote a book called "Candy".
2. The sun never set on the British Empire because the British Empire is in the East and the sun sets in the West.
3. One of the causes of the Revolutionary Wars was the English put tacks in their tea.
4. When Elizabeth exposed herself be- fore her troops, they all shouted "hurrah." Then her navy went out and defeated the Spanish Armadillo.
5. the victims of the Black Death grew boobs on their necks
Now, call me silly, but it seems to me that a multiple choice test would have removed the option of the plague causing random boob growth and Elizabeth motivating her troops be-fore battle by flashing them. I am all for the critical thinking involved in essays, and for someone who is supposedly such a staunch multiplist (I just made that up. It's awesome), I make my students write a lot. What I don't do, all the time, is give them a chance to make such stunning claims as "When they fought the Parisians, the Greeks were outnumbered because the Persians had more men.".
Take that, Toby.
PS: In the interest of our testing feud being more interesting, I have assigned you the super-villain name of "The Mandarin". Henceforth, I will be known as "Crom". At all other non-feuding related events, our real names will suffice, unless you really want to call me Crom, which is OK.