This week, I sat my Year 4 students through a Reading and Comprehension exam. All tables were to be cleared of everything besides two writing utensils with drink bottles on the floor.

I handed out the exam sheets face down and instructed everyone not to look under it. When they were all handed out, I displayed an enlarged version of the top part of the exam paper on the board and ran the kids through rules and expectations – emphasising the reading of all questions carefully before attempting any of them.
When I finish by stating the time limit is ten minutes, I add that I have seen students finish this exact same paper in less than two minutes, so ten minutes is more than enough.

Once everything has been said, I set the clock and let them go.

During the first five minutes, I’d get a lot of questions asking if they really need to poke holes through their paper. I reply to this with, “It’s a comprehension exam, how are you comprehending the instructions?”
A few minutes after that, I heard my first meek chicken noise. Heads turned curiously in the direction from where it came, then they’d all look at me. I ignore it.
I’ve now started collecting a few completed sheets, and near ten minutes in, I got my first, “AWWWWW!!!!!”. Followed closely by a, “Awww, what the – ?!” then some chuckles.

exam preview

Once everyone was “finished”, I let the kids tell each other (as they do) that they only needed to do question one, then I’d step in and conclude by giving a serious talk about how we’re living in a digital world of End User Licence Agreements (EULA), terms and conditions and regular software updates that ask you to agree to ‘fine print’ before you can use it and how important it is to know what you’re doing and agreeing to before jumping in blindly. I pointed out that if you poked a hole in your exam paper, drew a moon or stars, drew a boarder or made a chicken noise, you didn’t read the instructions properly… even after having them read and emphasised to you. Just because something looks familiar and important, things are not always as they seem.

Some may argue that this “exam” is a waste of time and/or a waste of time on students in Year 4, but I disagree. Listen to what kids do these days and you’ll learn that they are, or can be, involved in programs and services that have a ‘click here to accept’ option somewhere along the line.

Here is the original, editable version as a Publisher document. Remember, it’s a Publisher document, not a Word document.
Now all you need to do is drop in your school logo, name, motto, change the term and year and you’re done. If you’re from outside New South Wales, Australia, you’ll need to change the logo in the top left corner to your local equivalent.

Enjoy. 😉

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