03 June 2020

It's "Ms." Not "Miss"

Looking back on the experience that generated this tweet (full list from this date), I have a lot of treasured memories. At the time, not so much.

This happened when I was in Cincinnati to supervise the scoring of the Washington state science assessment. I know that sounds a little strange, but the scoring contractor had a base in Ohio. There was a building there with rooms and rooms of computer labs and both part-time and full-time staff that were trained to score items. They did the work for several states. Anyhoo, I had the "night shift," which went from 5:30 - 9:30 and was when all the high school items were scored. As the scoring supervisor, I had the final word on any decisions about scoring an individual student response. I would wander through all the rooms over the four hours and hang out with scorers, answer questions, review data, and so on.

It was actually a lot of fun. Part of this was being in the Eastern time zone with a Pacific time zone body clock. I would do some remote work in the morning, then leave my hotel room around 10 (local time) to do some sightseeing and have lunch before going to the scoring center. And after my shift was done, I'd go get ice cream and sit outside in the sticky summer night. My co-worker, who worked with the elementary and middle school items, had the day shift and was never able to get out and do anything during the day. For me, it was a bit of a busman's holiday...even though it really sucked to be away from home for two weeks.

Another bonus was the people there. One of the lead scorers and I became friends and stayed in touch over the years. She recently passed away from early onset Alzheimer's. But the scorers were fun. They had all kinds of questions about why students chose to write so many Chuck Norris jokes in the response boxes (they even gave me a Chuck Norris t-shirt as a going away gift), as well as why Washington students drew more penises on the tests than students in other states.

I don't miss the travel associated with my old job, even though it afforded some really unusual opportunities. I am quite content to have passed the Miss Washington crown onto someone else.

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