In today's world of James Bond-style cheating technology and sophisticated test taker impersonation schemes, it was refreshing to follow a recent thread on the National College Testing Association listserv (NCTA-L) telling tales of what probably comprises the great majority of rule-breaking behavior—more silly than shameful.
This listserv, whose members are primarily test administrators based at U.S. undergraduate institutions, typically sticks to relatively dry subjects such as comparative proctor pay and CLEP eligibility details. Since most of our AMIDEAST offices administer tests such as CLEP as well as working with proctors, and because we want to keep an eye out for NCTA members who might be willing to open new TOEIC USA Speaking & Writing test centers, the listserv interesting enough to us—but I wouldn't generally share the messages here.
One with the subject line "Sigh: some people....," however, unleashed a stream of great stories about "helicopter parents," anger management problems, and other test center sorrows. Here are some of my favorites. (Wording has been slightly altered where needed for clarity and tale tellers remain uncited to protect the innocent.)
Finally, the story that started the whole thread, which, perhaps even more than the one above, reminds us that no matter how specific our instructions, people come in with their own overriding priorities:
Infuriating, wrong, and unfair to the other test taker—but rather sweet.
Do you have a funny test taker, student, or parent story to share?
—Lia Nigro, TOEIC USA Team