Friday, April 17, 2009

Post-Exam Recap

My students wrote their final exam this week. The subject matter is Canadian history from pre-contact to the present era, so a survey course of the entirety of Canadian history. History can get complicated, long and involved. Sometimes it's hard to boil down an event or person into a short definitive answer.

The first section of our exam was comprised of Identification and Significance questions. This is pretty standard for History exams. You get a bunch of terms, pick out the required number and then describe in 3-5 lines (or more if you're taking the shotgun approach to answers or suffer from verbal diarrhea) what/who/when/where the term was/is and how/why it is important to the overall scope of Canadian history. Simple, right? Sometimes it's anything but.

Sometimes you get some amazingly bizarre answers and you just have to wonder how their brain functions and what lecture they attended or what textbook they were reading. I had a couple of answers like that this exam. My favourite is one I'll share. I don't know what the legalities of this are, but there are no names for the guilty party.

The ID question was the Quiet Revolution. For those of you who are not versed in Canadian history, the Quiet Revolution occurred between 1960-66 in Quebec. It was a time of rapid, but nonviolent change, whereby Quebec underwent drastic evolutions in its political, social, economic and cultural structures led by Liberal Premier Jean Lesage. The Roman Catholic church's influence rapidly waned and a growing number of Quebeckers became sovereigntists, which gave rise to the separatist movements.

This particular student however, has a very different interpretation of what the Quiet Revolution meant in Canadian History:

"The Quiet Revolution is a staple of Canada's pacifistic history. When the Canadian government is mad at another country instead of outlining the problems like educated government officials they will not speak to you. If you call they will breath heavily on the phone but not utter a word. In essence a quiet revolt."

I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried.

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