April 23, 2012

Standardized Testing....Pineapples don't have sleeves

When Pineapple Races Hare, Students Lose, Critics of Standardized Tests Say

Metro Twitter Logo. A reading passage included this week in one of New York’s standardized English tests has become the talk of the eighth grade, with students walking around saying, “Pineapples don’t have sleeves,” as if it were the code for admission to a secret society.
The passage is a parody of the tortoise and the hare story, the Aesop’s fable that almost every child learns in elementary school. Only instead of a tortoise, the hare races a talking pineapple, and the moral of the story — more on that later — is the part about the sleeves.
In the world of testing, she said, it does not really matter whether an answer is right or wrong; the “right” answer is the one that field testing has shown to be the consensus answer of the “smart” kids. “It’s a psychometric concept,” she said. 
In the original version a rabbit races an eggplant, and children speculated Friday that the eggplant had been changed to a pineapple because some kids might not know what an eggplant was. Why the rabbit was changed to a hare was harder to explain. There is no mention of sleeves.

Suzanne DeChillo/The New York Times

A story by the children’s book author Daniel Pinkwater, above, was adapted for an English test in a way that baffled students 

and caused officials to say that the questions wouldn’t be counted.

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