## Talking pineapple question on state exam stumps ... everyone

How can we expose more people to critical thinking?
Rob Lister
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### Talking pineapple question on state exam stumps ... everyone

(Newser) – No amount of studying could prepare students to assess the wisdom of a talking pineapple, but that's what New York kids were asked to do on a state test. The eighth-grade reading exam offered a fable-like story about a pineapple challenging a hare to a race. Other animals weigh in, and finally, the pineapple gets eaten. Eighth-graders were asked to pick the wisest character—then explain why the pineapple met its gruesome fate. Students' success on the test will be used, in part, to review staff performance, the New York Daily News reports.

"I thought it was a little strange, but I just answered it as best as I could," says a 14-year-old. A parent says she was horrified the question "should be used on a test that is going to be used to determine our kid’s future and the future of our children’s schools." The test recently underwent a $32 million overhaul courtesy of testing firm Pearson, and one principal says the question had "confused" children in several states in the past. Who's the wisest? "Pearson for getting paid$32 million for recycling this crap," the principal notes. Click through to read the inscrutable question in its entirety.
I withheld judgement until I could read the question.
... The Pineapple and the Hare ...

In the olden times, animals could speak English, just like you and me. There was a lovely enchanted forest that flourished with a bunch of these magical animals. One day, a hare was relaxing by a tree. All of a sudden, he noticed a pineapple sitting near him.
The hare, being magical and all, told the pineapple, “Um, hi.” The pineapple could speak English too.
“I challenge you to a race! Whoever makes it across the forest and back first wins a ninja! And a lifetime’s supply of toothpaste!” The hare looked at the pineapple strangely, but agreed to the race.
The next day, the competition was coming into play. All the animals in the forest (but not the pineapples, for pineapples are immobile) arranged a finish/start line in between two trees. The coyote placed the pineapple in front of the starting line, and the hare was on his way.
Everyone on the sidelines was bustling about and chatting about the obvious prediction that the hare was going to claim the victory (and the ninja and the toothpaste). Suddenly, the crow had a revolutionary realization.
“AAAAIEEH! Friends! I have an idea to share! The pineapple has not challenged our good companion, the hare, to just a simple race! Surely the pineapple must know that he CANNOT MOVE! He obviously has a trick up his sleeve!” exclaimed the crow.
The moose spoke up.
“Pineapples don’t have sleeves.”
“You fool! You know what I mean! I think that the pineapple knows we’re cheering for the hare, so he is planning to pull a trick on us, so we look foolish when he wins! Let’s sink the pineapple’s intentions, and let’s cheer for the stupid fruit!” the crow passionately proclaimed. The other animals cheered, and started chanting, “FOIL THE PLAN! FOIL THE PLAN! FOIL THE PLAN!”
A few minutes later, the hare arrived. He got into place next to the pineapple, who sat there contently. The monkey blew the tree-bark whistle, and the race began! The hare took off, sprinting through the forest, and the pineapple ...
It sat there.
The animals glanced at each other blankly, and then started to realize how dumb they were. The pineapple did not have a trick up its sleeve. It wanted an honest race — but it knew it couldn’t walk (let alone run)!
About a few hours later, the hare came into sight again. It flew right across the finish line, still as fast as it was when it first took off. The hare had won, but the pineapple still sat at his starting point, and had not even budged.
The animals ate the pineapple.

Here are two of the questions:
1. Why did the animals eat the pineapple?
a. they were annoyed
b. they were amused
c. they were hungry
d. they wanted to
2. Who was the wisest?
a. the hare
b. moose
c. crow
d. owl

I do think it is a confusing and a seemingly non-sense question.

I think it should be included. it has an important purpose.

specious_reasons
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### Re: Talking pineapple question on state exam stumps ... ever

Rob Lister wrote: Here are two of the questions:
1. Why did the animals eat the pineapple?
a. they were annoyed
b. they were amused
c. they were hungry
d. they wanted to
2. Who was the wisest?
a. the hare
b. moose
c. crow
d. owl

I do think it is a confusing and a seemingly non-sense question.

I think it should be included. it has an important purpose.
In Illinois, they have added written response questions to the standardized tests. Even thought this story seems pretty nuts, it might be good for long form responses to questions, not multiple choice.

I would choose the owl as the wisest because it's not in the story.
ta-
DAVE!!!

Rob Lister
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Joined: Sun Jul 18, 2004 7:15 pm
Title: Incipient toppler
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### Re: Talking pineapple question on state exam stumps ... ever

specious_reasons wrote: In Illinois, they have added written response questions to the standardized tests. Even thought this story seems pretty nuts, it might be good for long form responses to questions, not multiple choice.

I would choose the owl as the wisest because it's not in the story.

and why they 'ate' the pineapple?

I'll put what I think the question is for in spoilers
Spoiler:

Abdul Alhazred
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Title: Yes, that one.
Location: Chicago

### Re: Talking pineapple question on state exam stumps ... ever

Lister nails it.
The arc of the moral universe bends towards chaos.
People who believe God or History are on their side provide the chaos.

gnome
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Location: New Port Richey, FL

### Re: Talking pineapple question on state exam stumps ... ever

Whoa, intriguing.

But I gotta say, had I been a student with this question it would have angered me.

Here's another one--despite their possible intentions of checking for cheating... did they actually leave the question unscored? Or did some drone select a correct "answer" and penalize students for not picking it?
"If fighting is sure to result in victory, then you must fight! Sun Tzu said that, and I'd say he knows a little bit more about fighting than you do, pal, because he invented it, and then he perfected it so that no living man could best him in the ring of honor. Then, he used his fight money to buy two of every animal on earth, and then he herded them onto a boat, and then he beat the crap out of every single one. And from that day forward any time a bunch of animals are together in one place it's called a zoo! (Beat) Unless it's a farm!"
--Soldier, TF2

gnome
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Joined: Tue Jun 29, 2004 12:40 am
Location: New Port Richey, FL

### Re: Talking pineapple question on state exam stumps ... ever

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/2 ... 40942.html
New York Education Commissioner John B. King, Jr. wrote:First of all, the "passage" printed in the media is not complete. Although the questions make more sense in the context of the full passage, due to the ambiguous nature of the test questions the Department has decided it will not be counted against students in their scores. It is important to note that this test section does not incorporate the Common Core and other improvements to test quality currently underway. This year’s tests incorporate a small number of Common Core field test questions. Next year’s test will be fully aligned with the Common Core. This particular passage, like all test questions, was reviewed by a committee comprised of teachers from across the state, but it was not crafted for New York State. It’s a passage that has been used in other states and was included by Pearson Inc., the test vendor, to provide a comparison between New York students and students from other states.1The passage and related questions are not reflective of the precision of the entire exam. The accuracy and efficacy our state assessments are crucial to our reform efforts and measuring student academic growth. We will, as always, review and analyze all questions on every assessment we administer.
"If fighting is sure to result in victory, then you must fight! Sun Tzu said that, and I'd say he knows a little bit more about fighting than you do, pal, because he invented it, and then he perfected it so that no living man could best him in the ring of honor. Then, he used his fight money to buy two of every animal on earth, and then he herded them onto a boat, and then he beat the crap out of every single one. And from that day forward any time a bunch of animals are together in one place it's called a zoo! (Beat) Unless it's a farm!"
--Soldier, TF2

Rob Lister
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Joined: Sun Jul 18, 2004 7:15 pm
Title: Incipient toppler
Location: Swimming in Lake Ed

### Re: Talking pineapple question on state exam stumps ... ever

gnome wrote:http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/2 ... 40942.html
New York Education Commissioner John B. King, Jr. wrote:First of all...
Do you think Mr. King's explanation does or does not support my speculation? What did we learn from Mr. King's statement?

gnome
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Joined: Tue Jun 29, 2004 12:40 am
Location: New Port Richey, FL

### Re: Talking pineapple question on state exam stumps ... ever

That there may be more to the question that I need to read.

He touched on the idea that it was a meta-question for comparison purposes but didn't provide enough detail or clarity.

He made me think it was going to be a scored question until someone cried foul.
"If fighting is sure to result in victory, then you must fight! Sun Tzu said that, and I'd say he knows a little bit more about fighting than you do, pal, because he invented it, and then he perfected it so that no living man could best him in the ring of honor. Then, he used his fight money to buy two of every animal on earth, and then he herded them onto a boat, and then he beat the crap out of every single one. And from that day forward any time a bunch of animals are together in one place it's called a zoo! (Beat) Unless it's a farm!"
--Soldier, TF2

Mentat
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### Re: Talking pineapple question on state exam stumps ... ever

gnome wrote:Whoa, intriguing.

But I gotta say, had I been a student with this question it would have angered me.

Here's another one--despite their possible intentions of checking for cheating... did they actually leave the question unscored? Or did some drone select a correct "answer" and penalize students for not picking it?
It's very common to have unscored sections on standardized state tests. Usually for fairly mundane reasons, the biggest being a trial balloon for new questions. So I doubt it.
It's "pea-can", man.

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