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The Weirdest Standardized Test Question Ever

The Weirdest Standardized Test Question Ever

Are you familiar with animal psychology, vegetable fashion trends, and standard operating procedures when confronted with combative, loquacious tropical fruits? No? Ha! Ha, ha! FAILURE.

...Or at least, that's what the New York State Board of Education seems to think of all the students who were confused by the reading comprehension section of a recent standardized test, which featured a story in which a swaggering, ambitious pineapple challenges a fast-running hare to a race, and ultimately gets eaten in punishment for his bravado. (The self-declared moral of the story: Pineapples don't have sleeves! Which, okay, they don't? But one might point out that they don't talk, either, and yet nobody seemed to think that was weird.)

After reading the story, eighth graders taking the test were required to answer questions like, "Which animal was the smartest?" (real answer: the talking one) or "Why did the animals eat the pineapple?" (our answer: BECAUSE THEY ARE MURDERERS). Unsurprisingly, most of them found this difficult.

Fortunately, after coming under fire for making this ridiculous scenario part of the test in the first place, the Board of Ed granted a reprieve to the legions of kids who raised their hands to say things like, "This story doesn't make sense," or "We need more information to answer these questions," or "I believe that a pineapple who is capable of speech would also be capable of dressing himself in a stylish yet affordable sport jacket for the occasion, making the moral of this story questionable at best." So if you were an unwitting participant in Pineapplegate 2012, don't worry! Your inability to understand the motivations of a talking fruit won't be counted against you. (Although the guys in charge couldn't quite apologize for it without also making a passive-aggressive comment that the questions made sense "in the context of the full passage"—which is kind of like showing somebody the last fifteen minutes of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" and then getting all huffy when you ask why that one guy is so angry and doesn't have a nose.)

And if you must learn something from this whole debacle, let it be this: if a talking pineapple shows up in your driveway tomorrow and challenges your dog to a race, you should lock the doors and call the police.

Unless it has sleeves, in which case you might as well eat it, because the apocalypse is upon us and there is nothing you can do.

Have you ever had a question this ridiculous on one of your standardized tests?

Related post: Three Reasons to Love—OK, Like—the SAT

Topics: Life
Tags: school, tests, standardized testing, standardized tests

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About the Author

Kat Rosenfield is a writer, illustrator, advice columnist, YA author, and enthusiastic licker of that plastic liner that comes inside a box of Cheez-Its. She loves zombies and cats. She hates zombie cats. Follow her on Twitter or Tumblr @katrosenfield.

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