Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Friday, July 06, 2012

How Ridiculous Can Standardized Tests Be!

Education Reporter, a monthly publication of Eagle Forum, is one of the few sources that report on public school curriculum, that is, on what is really being taught in the classroom. Here is an example you may not read anywhere else. 8th graders in New York state were given a curious question on a standardized test that was supposed to measure reading ability. In this story, animals, fruits and vegetables could talk. According to this absurd story, a pineapple challenged a rabbit to a race. The story continued with conversation between the pineapple and the rabbit, and comments by animals and birds. The rabbit won the race, of course; the pineapple couldn't run at all. When the rabbit crossed the finish line, the pineapple hadn't moved an inch.

Then came the multiple-choice test questions. The 8th grade kids were instructed to select one of four answers to each question. Before the race, how did the animals feel toward the pineapple? A-Suspicious, B-Kindly, C-Sympathetic, or D-Envious? Which animal spoke the wisest words: A-the rabbit, B-The moose, C-The crow, or D-The owl? Did the animals finally eat the pineapple because they were A-Hungry, B-Excited, C-Annoyed, or D-Amused?

The New York Daily News reported that students, teachers and parents, all agreed that the questions were confusing and inappropriate for a standardized test. The company that produced this test vigorously defended it and said that it has been used in Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Illinois, New Mexico, Florida, Chicago, Fort Worth, and Houston. The New York Education Commissioner responded to parents' complaints by finallly announcing that the pineapple question would not be counted on the students' final scores.

Listen to the radio commentary here:

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