What was the biggest assgnment screw-up you saw a class have?

What was the biggest screw up you’ve seen involving an assignment that a huge majority of the class forgot/did wrong?

Earlier this semester, I had mentioned a project I had for Theater History where I had to memorize a scene from Tartuffe with a classmate. Since all the other people are Theater Majors (I’m an English major) I figured everyone was going to blow me out of the water; what do I know about acting?

Out of 24 people, only 4 (counting me) students actually memorized their lines and got a passing grade for the assignment. There wasn’t any miscommunication present- the professor had been mentioning it to everyone for weeks beforehand. She even gave us an extension on the presentation, with the promise that we would have it perfect. So I was really surprised (So was the professor, and not in a good way! :eek: ) when so many people fudged up or simply didn’t show up.

Normally it seems like I’m the only one who forgot we had an assignment/paper/etc due that day, so when its everyone but me that forgets it feels extremely surreal. Last semester I had a similar experience where we got in groups to do book presentations and all the other groups simply badmouthed their books because they didn’t like it :confused: which totally sabotaged their grades because they didn’t even discuss anything relevant about the books, just talked about how stupid they were (without even giving any good reasons either).

Well, I don’t know if a choir concert counts as a class, but it was a high school choir, and our concerts were our “tests” in that we’d get an F if we didn’t show, so…

It was the annual Christmas concert. We were up on the stage, we’d done a few numbers; everybody was relaxed and into the swing of things. The director (who was also the accompanying pianist; he played the piano and directed by moving his head) began playing the intro to “Winter Wonderland”. This particular arrangement goes through three verses of the song, then repeats the first verse in a higher key and legato. We go through the first two verses just fine, and then, for absolutely no reason, everybody – and I mean every single person – begins singing the altered first verse. The director looks up at us in what was, and perhaps still is, the most singularly perplexed expression I have ever encountered, flips frantically to the end of the music, and transitions (rather smoothly, I might add) to the higher-key accompaniment. We finish the song with the audience none the wiser, take our bows, and look around at each other, unsure whether to be more amused or confused.

I still don’t know what happened that night, but it was the biggest collective brain fart I’ve ever seen. It was also, if I do say so myself, pretty darned cool.

When I was in grade 7 drafting class, the teacher told us to go over to the supply cabinet and get T-squares.

We all came back wearing aprons.

Turns out, the guy who got to the supply cabinet first had misheard “T-square” as “t-shirt”. He put on the only article of clothing that was available, and everyone followed his lead.

American History to the Civil War. The professor spends a good portion of her lecture explaining just why the peasants would get on the Big Leaky Boat ™ to come to America. We have a test soon after. The next class session, she almost blew a gasket.

Apparently, at least six or seven people (in different sections, nonetheless) explained in great detail “Why the pheasants got on the big leaky boat.”

(There’s a thread in GQ about answers to odd-numbered questions in the back of the book. So this was already in my mind.)

I once assigned a homework problem to a class whose solution was given in the back of the book. Of course I got a whole lot of people giving that answer.

Apparently it didn’t dawn on almost all students that the reason why I chose that particular problem was because the book’s answer was wrong. Buy a vowel kids.

5th grade, very first day of class: hands down winner, the runner-up need not be accorded a mention. 'Twas the teacher’s fuck-up for not having thought through the assignment.

Which was:

Take the word “PERSONALITY”. Now write down ten words that could describe your personality for each of the letters in the word “personality”, i.e., ten such words starting with “p”, ten with “e”, and so forth.

(Yeah, you try it. No fair using the thesaurus but you don’t really have to pretend to only have a typical 5th grader’s vocabulary, you can use your own.)
Nobody completed the overnight assignment and the principal / school board received something like 15 parental phone calls.

12th grade modern history class… A situation similar to AHunter3’s in that this was really the teacher’s fault.

We were given a quiz with the following instructions printed at the top:

"Write a PLUS next to statements that are true and a MINUS next to statements that are false."

When we got the quiz back the next day, I noticed a note at the top of it from my teacher saying, “You were trying to be funny too?” Apparently everyone in the class wrote the words “PLUS” and “MINUS” instead of drawing “+” and “-” symbols.

At the time I was taking high school physics, Canada was trying to change over to the metric system. Our textbooks all used Imperial measurements though, which caused the following screw-up.

You all remember high school physics problems: “A bullet is shot from a gun with a muzzle velocity of 1000 feet per second. How fast is the bullet travelling five seconds after leaving the gun?” Note that this is not a real problem, but just an example.

Now, our physics teacher, mindful of the government-mandated metric changeover, decided to use metric terminology in spite of our textbooks being in Imperial. He asked us to simply substitute the metric terms for the Imperial ones in our homework–meaning that he wanted us to read the above example as, “A bullet is shot from a gun at 1000 meters per second…” See the simple substitution? That’s what he wanted.

That’s not what about half the class did, however. The next day, they had the wrong answers to the homework problems, but their answers were remarkably similar. Seems that they had converted the problems over to metric measurements: “Let’s see–a thousand feet is roughly 307.7 meters, so I’ll do the problem as ‘A bullet is shot from a gun at 307.7 meters per second…’”

Some had done the conversion to one, two, or three decimal points, and some had rounded to whole numbers, so answers were necessarily different. Of course, some had the answer just plain wrong, as did some of the rest of us who understood the teacher’s original intent. With feet and meters and decimal points and differing answers all over the place, the teacher nearly tore out his hair in frustration.

What he eventually did was to decide that since our textbook had Imperial measurements, we would solve the problems exactly as they were written. After that experience, he was perfectly willing to wait for a new textbook that used metric measurements, no matter what the school board and/or the government said he had to do.

Not an assignment, but certainly the best mass screw-up I’ve ever seen.

Senior year of high school, the day after winter break. My home room/first-period English class had already been shocked by one of our prematurely bald classmates who had gotten a toupee for Christmas and decided to wear it to school (he never did that again.)

So the homeroom period ends and the English class begins. Did I mention this was an Honors English class, populated by the best and brightest my high school had? Students who had shown their academic credentials for 3+ years? One by one, we all fell asleep.

Now, when I say “all” I’m not using some sort of exaggeration to make the story better. Everyone in the class, from the little brown-nosers who sat right by the teacher, to the surly guys in the back who didn’t want to be there – every one of us dropped off to sleep. 15 minutes into the class, there wasn’t a head that wasn’t firmly laid out on a desk.

I have been in after-lunch lectures of 200, overcrowded classrooms with steam radiators working full blast, boring substitute teachers who just wanted us to read, in short, every sleep-inducing part of the educational system. But I never before, and never after, saw anything like this.

The teacher wisely gave up trying and finished the class reading her own book.