School outcry at German exam sex song

CHARLEY MANN AND MICHELLE COOKE
Last updated 15:48 19/11/2012
Wise Guys

LOST IN TRANSLATION: The members of German a cappella group Wise Guys.

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German teachers are dismayed a song containing sexual innuendo was included in an NCEA exam sat by 16-year-olds.

The level 2 NCEA exam, held across the country last week, included the song Relativ by German group Wise Guys.

Translated into English, the lyrics included: ''I get hot when I see you dance'' and ''I assume there's a lot I could do with you in bed.''

Some students were so perplexed by the song they left the exam in tears while others reacted by laughing in disbelief.

Christchurch Girls' High School head of German Natasha Smith said the song was so difficult to understand even native German speakers and teachers struggled to answer the questions.

One native German speaking teacher, who wanted to remain anonymous, said she was ''absolutely appalled at the sexual references in the song''.

Another said a pupil was ''so confused by the backing and accompaniment in a poor quality CD that he couldn't decipher the lyrics well enough to even attempt the question''.

Smith said the song required students to understand ''colloquial expressions, metaphoric language and a myriad of other items, even nonsensical items like Eg ich mag dich relativ sehr - I like you relatively very''.

While pupils study German songs in class, they are not usually included in exams, Smith said.

''Songs have a place in the classroom, where you have time and in this case a dictionary nearby for the students. However, to use it in an exam is completely unacceptable and simply unfair,'' she said.

Further, teachers were told by NZQA staff earlier in the year that ''exams will look pretty much the same as they did last year'', Smith said.

Teachers have appealed to the NZQA markers to treat the exam sympathetically and ensure pupils are tested on topics they have been taught next year.

They received no warning that a song could be used in the exam so couldn't give their students a heads-up.

NZQA deputy chief executive Richard Thornton said the song was chosen "as it was felt it would engage the candidates".

"The song was about 'topics of personal and/or community interest' as the standard requires," Thornton said.

The first stanza was translated to help orient the 458 students who sat the exam, he said.

"The recording was done professionally and the lyrics are clear and easily heard, with no interference on the recording."

Thornton said the song was chosen with 16 and 17 year olds in mind.

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