Thursday, May 8, 2008

Even In Australia: Multiple Choice, Hitting the Wall, and Henry Huggins

Yes, the things listed after the colon in the title really are connected, but only in a way that makes sense among the sleep deprived.
And I am soooo there!

Last week and weekend I spent my time feverishly finishing papers and studying for a multiple choice test in Child Psychopathology.
Generally, I do not like multiple choice tests.
I overthink the questions almost every time.
For example, consider this question:

"Down's Syndrome occurs more often with older mothers than younger mothers because:
a. chromosomal nondisjunction increases with maternal age
b. women's ova generally become less healthy with age
c. older women are generally less healthy than younger women
d. none of these"

Here's how I tend to think:
Me to myself: "Hmmm. Well, the book is an undergraduate text, so it probably says "a". However, that's not exactly right. It's not that nondisjunction--and isn't that spelled wrong?--occurs more often in older women, it's that older women are more likely to carry a fetus with a trisomy for small chromosomes--21 and 22--to term. So the real correct answer would have to be "d". But of course, she wouldn't expect the undergrads to know that, sooo...."

In my vast experience as someone who is addicted to taking courses, er, I mean a lifelong learner, I have learned to ignore the overanalytical part of my brain, (If I am not sleep deprived) and just go with the simplest answer. And I did that on Thursday and did well on the test.

But I hate multiple choice tests.

And I am now officially sleep deprived. This week, in order to keep up with the 8-9 hours of (paid) training for my summer job, as well as completing the semester's work, and educating N., I have been getting up before the sun and going to bed well after it sets.
I used to be able to do this kind of thing twice a semester--when I was in my 20's and 30's.
Now...well, ah, let's just say it's worse than 'Mommy Brain.' It is more like 'Mommy Brain' and 'PMS Brain' put together.

So today, I was cruising along in my training, and unwisely decided to take a MULTIPLE CHOICE QUIZ while sleep-deprived and before eating lunch.
"It's only a few more minutes," I rationalized (to myself--I'm not quite talking to the walls--yet). "Then we'll take a nice break."

Famous. Last. Words.
The information was somewhat complicated. The assessment system I was using had gotten a step more complex, and so I dithered over the answers for half-an-hour. That, as Bronowski says of Galileo, was my first mistake.
Then, just as I was about to submit the Quiz, I changed my answers.

Those of you who know the conventional wisdom about changing uncertain answers on a multiple-choice quiz are now groaning and throwing popcorn at the screen.

"How could you!" I hear you yelling. "WIth all of your experience being a student! "
Never. Never. Ever. Ever. Change. Your. Answers. When. You. Are. Uncertain.
The first response is most likely to be right.

Of course I did very, very poorly
I have an excuse. The training video, with its emphasis on "opening doors" for kids, and moving kids at this level along if there is the slightest reason to do so, misled me.
But, if I am completely honest, there was not the slightest reason to do so. And there were some other clues in the video.
The real problem? I made the right decisions the first time.
And then I changed my answers out of sheer, sleep-deprived paranoia. How could I be so certain? Was I not willing to give these (thankfully fictitious) children a chance? Etc. Etc.

Judith Viorst said there'd be days like this. Even in Australia.

The only sensible thing to do is take a break. Read Henry Huggins, and go get my hair done.

And speaking of Henry Huggins, have any of you read it recently?
As I do, I get the sense that times have really changed.
In this day and age Henry would probably have been detained by the TSA for attempting to bring a large, wriggling box onto a mode of public transportation.
His parents would have been charged with child abuse for letting him gather night-crawlers after dark in a public park.

Oh, and as for actually selling them? That would probably be doing business without a license.

See what I mean? Definitely sleep deprived.

So, it's off to town soon. I've got to get my hair done.
And turn in another paper for Child Psychopathology.

Did I mention that the printer is out of black ink?
Does that ever happen on days like this? Even in Australia?

Tomorrow is another day.


momof3feistykids said...

*LOL* The times they are a changin', Henry Huggins. I hope you get some well deserved rest!

Melora said...

I hate multiple choice tests too, for the same reason. Sorry you were sleep deprived & couldn't resist the urge to tinker with your answers! I hope you get some rest this weekend!
I love Henry Huggins!

denise said...


Good luck with everything - and hope you get some rest!

Happy Mother's Day.