by Lauren Ebersole '07
It's that time of year again, and no I don't mean the cookie baking, present shopping, tree-cutting time of year. It's finals time here in Indonesia. I'd like to devote this email to explaining the test process, which is only slightly less complicated than nuclear physics.
Try to stay with me: There are 7 classes for each grade. Grade 12 takes their exams in the morning and each class is divided in half. Grades 10 and 11 take exams in the afternoon, each room is half grade 10 and half 11, making 14 testing rooms. Each student must submit small photos to the testing committee. One photo is painstakingly glued on a student ID card that is then taped to the students' desk in his/her appointed seat. Don't forget that each of those over 600 cards must also be officially stamped with our school stamp. The second photo is put on a "photo album" so that the proctor can check the student attendance.
This semester the exams are created by the MGMP of each subject. MGMP are regency wide teachers groups. So all the English teachers from the Jombang area meet weekly and for this semester they make the exam for all the high schools in the area. The local education department then sends the exams to each school in nicely marked envelopes with the grade, subject, and number of test papers.
You are probably thinking, "That seems decidedly less difficult than nuclear physics." And you would be right if that's where the story ended. For our school the education department sends 12 envelopes per grade, per subject. In each envelope there are 21 test booklets. However, my school has 14 test rooms therefore we need 14 envelopes with 17 test booklets in each envelope. So the next step is opening each sealed envelope, removing 4 test booklets from each and then re-sealing the envelopes. The extra 4 tests from each envelope are then used to make 2 more envelopes, making 14 in total. (Please remember there are 14-17 subjects per grade, so this is a lot of envelopes and even more paper.)
Are you still with me? The education department also includes multiple choice answer sheets in the envelopes. However, my school decides to not use those answer sheets (so they are also removed from the envelope), but instead they count out their own, identical to the ones sent, answer sheets.
The next step is to put the envelopes (recap: in each envelope are the test problems, an attendance list students sign and a paper the proctor fills out that says subject, date, time, # of students) into a folder. A list of rules is glued to the inside of the folder, along with that "photo album" mentioned in paragraph 1. Then the answer sheets are put into the folder.
We are almost there so focus. Every teacher must proctor tests throughout the week. Each teacher is given a number and then a schedule is made. So basically you check your number and then see what days, times, and rooms you will be proctoring. Pretty simple. Each teacher is given an individual copy of the schedule as well as being able to look at the schedule taped to the giant whiteboard. In case that wasn't enough, a list of names is printed then cut out and tediously taped to the top of the folder. Again that doesn't seem all the bad except remember there are 14 folders X 3 or 4 tests per day X 9 days of testing.
During the exam proctors are supposed to check the id cards on the desks with the photo album in the folder. Students then sign an attendance list in duplicate and proctors fill out another form that includes the test subject, date and time of the test, the number of student that are supposed to take the test and the number that actually take the test, and the number of test booklets provided. Then another teacher from the ‘test committee' goes to each room where the proctor again writes if any students are absent and what subject is being tested for each grade.
The sheer volume of paper makes this environmentalist cringe and feel the need to apologize to every tree she sees.
Congratulations, if you followed all of that you might consider a new career in nuclear physics.
I wish you all a Selamat Hari Natal (Merry Christmas in Indonesian), Happy Winter Solstice, Hanukkah, Kwaanza, New Year, or anything else you might be celebrating this festive season.
Much love, Lauren