When high school students sit for their annual national exams beginning next week in New Zealand, it will not be the SOSO (same old same old). In fact, there will be a major change in procedure . BIOT (believe it or not), for the first time, they will be permitted to use "text speak," the language of mobile phone messaging now prevalent among teenagers around the world. Except for the exam in English proficiency itself, full credit will be given if an answer containing text speak "clearly shows the required understanding" of the subject. Not surprisingly , the decision is controversial. FWIW (for what it's worth), a teachers' union appears to back the new policy, contending that classroom instructors already "are grappling with [texting] every day." High school principal Denis Pyatt of Christchurch says that while he wouldn't encourage the use of text messaging, he thinks it's "one of the most exciting things that has happened in a long time." OTOH (on the other hand), one political party blasted the decision in a statement that said the standard shouldn't "b decidd by informl pop cultr of da time." And one concerned Internet blogger registered his displeasure by writing: "u mst b joking, or r u smoking sumthg?"