Mar. 23, 2018

Test Scores

I wanted to take some online classes so I went to the Unemployment Office and applied for a grant to cover the expenses. I had to jump through all the hoops in order to get it, too. One of the things I had to do was spend six hours taking a test; eight hours if you count the two-hour lunch break we were given.

Those of us who were there for the test were informed that we had to pass a ninth grade level of math, reading/vocabulary, and comprehension. If we received any score lower than ninth grade, we would not be eligible for the grant. Whatever!

We started the testing with about a dozen prospective students. I answered the questions to the best of my knowledge. I wasn’t in a hurry with my answers, either. I also noticed a lot of IQ questions in the mix of all three subjects. I thought that was pretty slick. Although, I didn’t finish the test before anyone else, I certainly didn’t finish it last so I surmised I did okay.

I noticed upon our return from the two-hour lunch break that several of my fellow testers did not return. Once I finished my test, I decided to ask one of the monitors where they all went.

“I have no idea,” she answered. “They just didn’t come back from lunch. It happens quite a bit here.”

Wow! Someone offering to help people get an education and instead of taking advantage of the opportunity, they blew it off. I was flabbergasted.

My test results came in two weeks later and I was called in for a review with my caseworker. As I sat across from her at her desk, she reminded me of the requirements of eligibility; I had to score at least a ninth grade level.

“It seems your math score is the lowest,” she said with boldness and authority while looking at my test scores. “You barely scored on a sixth grade level, and that’s just basic math, but your vocabulary and comprehension scores a little higher at seventh grade entry levels.”

My jaw hit the desk. “What?”

“Yes,” she answered, “And we also put some IQ questions in there to see how well our test subjects would score and you’re in the low-average range.”

“Wait a minute,” I said interrupting her. “I think you pulled someone else’s scores. Maybe one of those who didn’t finish their tests?”

She glanced at the folder again before asking, “Why would you say that?”

“Because I’m a college graduate. I’m a nurse and we have to be able to do math. In order to pass the pharmacology class, we had to score a perfect 100 doing complicated mathematical equations. We have to know how to convert the dosages in case the doctor orders in one strength and the pharmacy can only bring us another, and you’re telling me I barely scored on a sixth grade level? I don’t believe it. As for the vocabulary and comprehension part, I challenge that, as well.”

My caseworker leaned back in her chair and looked at the folder again. Ignoring my response to the math test completely, she asked with a little less boldness in her tone, “Why are you challenging the vocabulary and comprehension?”

I shook my head and answered, “Because I’m an accomplished writer. Not only have I written columns for the newspaper for several years in the past, I also have two books published. You’re telling me I have the intellect of an entry level seventh grader?”

She laid the folder on the desk. With amusement, I could tell at first she didn’t know what to say. Finally, she determined that it must have to do with my low IQ scores.

“Really?” I said incredulously. “Well, I’ve taken two IQ test before in my life and on the first one, I scored 126; the second 128. I believe the genius level is 130. Is this the Unemployment Office’s way of getting out of following through on the grants they offered everyone?”

“No, no,” she denied quickly, “This is all legit.”

I noticed the bold authoritative tone had disappeared. “You are not going to sit there and tell me I scored at sixth and seventh grade level with a low-average IQ score. I know different.” I held my hand out for the folder. “I want to see the test scores for myself.”

She hugged the folder to her chest. “I’m sorry; we are not allowed to show anyone their test scores.”

I was quickly losing my patience. Before I was amused, but now, I wasn’t so humored. “That’s not true, either,” I said looking her straight in the eye. “By all legal means, if my name is on anything, I have the right to see it. My name is on those test results therefore, legally, you have to show them to me if I ask and I am asking!”

“Hold on a minute,” she said as she stood up. Taking the folder with her, she explained, “Let me get my supervisor. I cannot show them to you, but he can. I’ll be right back.”

She returned five minutes later with her supervisor in tow. I sat at the desk with my arms folded across my chest. She could go get whoever she wanted, but I meant to see those test scores before I left there that day.

He came up to me and introduced himself, “We feel you’re a good candidate for the program and we’re going to recommend to the state that you receive a full grant.”

I thought so!