Once you know the secret, the game is easy. Try it yourself to see if you know the key:
The infuriating task of trying to find the pattern or detail that unlocks this mystery makes the game maddening. But once you know what to pay attention to, the pain is fun to pass along if you're in jr. high and high school. These pointless games make so much more sense in a world filled with tests that are sometimes constructed with similar ambiguity.
Consider the question posed on Catherine Johnson's blog (and adapted further here):
Note: the real question is less ambiguous. But as one of the comments on Catherine's post points out: This isn't a math question, it's a "guess what the teacher means" question. This is a mind-reading problem.
Even in college, one of the "skills" I was urged to develop was the ability to predict what the teacher wanted. That, it turns out, is one of the biggest keys to getting a good grade. Thankfully, I was good at figuring out what was expected of me. And there's certainly something to be said for a willingness to jump through hoops and do what's required of you. Such talents are great for politics and jobs and such.
But poorly designed tests and assignments that measure your compliance rather than your knowledge or mastery are a tragic part of certain educational models. Far better to spend the time learning alongside your child. Homeschooling gives you daily insights into your student's comprehension and ability. You don't need flawed tests or mind-reading skills to know how much your student has learned.
Sonlight's Full-Grade Packages and Core programs don't come with tests. Your children won't have to uncover the mystery of ambiguous test questions. Instead, you and your students will read and discuss great literature, talk about big ideas, and learn together. You'll likely encounter standardized tests at some point. But, for now, you can focus on something more important: Loving to learn.
What's the most "guess what the teacher means" experience you've had?
Filmmaker, Writer, Empty Nester