Final English exam leaves some puzzled
Published Monday, June 8, 2009 6:47PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, May 18, 2012 10:56PM EDT
Grade 11 students had their final English exam today, with a twist.
In an effort to broaden testing media, this exam included an abstract 3-minute short film with no words, only images and music. It is part of the tests across Quebec.
The film showed a girl in a dusty yard, with an industrial or school-like building in the background. Then a human-sized smiling pencil appears, and the girl uses it to draw things like a cake and a kite, which become real. She then draws a swirl, which turns into a megaphone and sucks her in.
The video was created by art students in the United States.
"It was very obscure...and confusing. It didn't really make any sense," said one student.
Some teachers were equally as baffled.
"I just found it completely creepy," said Ruth Rosenfield, with the Montreal Teachers' Association. "Guess I'm not in step with what's in vogue nowadays with what's in schools."
"The new Quebec curriculum requires that texts be seen as something more than just print, it's also visual and sound," said Michael Hoechsmann, with the department of Educational Psychology at McGill University.
As head-scratching as it may seem to some, it clearly make the students use their noggins.
"We had to connect it to other stories and see like themes and stuff. It was pretty tricky," said a student.
The students could choose between working with the video, writing an essay, or working with an article.
A still from the video used as part of the Quebec Grade 11 English exam. (June 8, 2009)
Ruth Rosenfield is with the Montreal Teacher's Association. She isn't so sure about the Dali-like video. (June 11, 2009)
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