About one minute ago this comment was left on my most recent post about this past week’s U.S. History Regents:
The answer for 14 is 3 slaveholders.
Denton is absolutely correct. The question has to do with the Dred Scott decision:
Which group benefited most directly from the Supreme Court decision in Dred Scott v. Sanford?
(1) abolitionists (3) slave owners
(2) immigrants (4) enslaved persons
To which I began my response:
They want answer (4) because Chief Justice Roger Taney ruled that slavery was legally permitted in all of the territories. He also ruled that “a black man has no rights that a white man is bound to respect.” How can it not be choice (4)?
If you read the rest of my response to the question you can see that I clearly meant to say choice (3), not (4). This was a simple matter of me getting the numbers mixed up.
I will admit, Denton’s simple comment mildly devastated me. Despite the fact that I know the answer to the question and have a strong opinion about why this question is stupid, I myself felt very stupid once Denton made me realize my folly. I am sure that many, if not most, people who read the post picked up on my mistake but did not say anything out of politeness.
The fact that, according to my stats, this is the most-read of my recent posts makes me feel even dumber. Hundreds of people have already read my mistake.
If someone like me who is confident in his understanding of U.S. History to the point of insufferable arrogance can be made to feel stupid for a simple mistake, imagine how a teenager must feel when something similar happens?
How many times have students simply transposed numbers and ended up bubbling in the wrong choice because of it? How many times has a student bubbled in an answer in which they had confidence only to have a machine spit it back at them as “wrong”?
My mistake and Denton’s comment I believe strengthens my point about the folly of standardized testing. As the post clearly demonstrates, even students with a strong understanding of a subject can be screwed over by simple errors, putting their graduation and the careers of their teachers in jeopardy.
For now at least, I am one dumb history teacher.