View Full Version : The Hare and the Pineapple: can you pass the test?

04-26-2012, 12:20 AM
Here's the passage and the questions:

04-26-2012, 12:29 AM
Wow. That's really a ridiculous attempt at a story with some ridiculous questions after.

04-26-2012, 12:47 AM
At least it was more entertaining that the tripe I had to read when going through standardized tests. :lol:

04-26-2012, 12:50 AM
I really wish this had been the story I had on those stupid MEAP tests.

Just kidding, this was actually on the SAT?? I don't believe that. No way.

I love that they released a statement about how ridiculous it is. (http://www.p12.nysed.gov/apda/scoring/612ei/in-g8ela-q6-11.pdf)

I really wish the Commissioner had said what he/she really felt about the "passage" right here (http://www.oms.nysed.gov/press/CommissionerKingStatementonTheHareandthePineapple. html).

Oh gosh, even better is what the 'author' wrote on his website here (http://www.pinkwater.com/pzone/).

OK, here is the deal. There are these companies that make up tests and various reading materials, and sell them to state departments of education for vast sums of money. One of the things they do is purchase rights from authors to use excerpts from books. For these they pay the authors non-vast sums of money. Then they edit the passages according to….I have no idea what perceived requirements. Here is the story as it appears in BORGEL, a novel I wrote. Borgel, who is 111 years old is telling this story and similar ones to his great-great nephew while riding on a bus:

The Story of the Rabbit and the Eggplant

Once there was a race between a rabbit and an eggplant. Now, the eggplant, as you know, is a member of the vegetable kingdom, and the rabbit is a very fast animal.

Everybody bet lots of money on the eggplant, thinking that if a vegetable challenges a live animal with four legs to a race, then it must be that the vegetable knows something.

People expected the eggplant to win the race by some clever trick of philosophy. The race was started, and there was a lot of cheering. The rabbit streaked out of sight.

The eggplant just sat there at the starting line. Everybody knew that in some surprising way the eggplant would wind up winning the race.

Nothing of the sort happened. Eventually, the rabbit crossed the finish line and the eggplant hadn’t moved an inch.

The spectators ate the eggplant.

Moral: Never bet on an eggplant.

I don’t know how the test publishing company changed the story. I gather they decided to call the rabbit a hare, and made the eggplant into a pineapple. Also there appears to be something about sleeves. And they made up questions for the students to answer. I would not have done any of these things. But it has nothing to do with me. I cashed the check they sent me after about 8 months, and took my wife out to lunch at a cheap restaurant. I believe, she ordered eggplant.

04-26-2012, 01:00 AM
It wasn't SAT's, it was the ELA's...right?

And I love that they explain that it won't be counted. :lol: It wouldn't be so bad if the questions made sense.

04-26-2012, 01:13 AM
I love that the wife ordered eggplant and he mentions having to take her to a cheap lunch with his check. He even mentions waiting 8 months to cash it. Clearly, he wasn't given much money for his passage, haha.

04-26-2012, 12:05 PM
And people wonder why teachers are out railing against standardized testing. Although this is the crappiest example I've seen yet, I have seen some real doozies on the tests my students take.

And I've also seen question writers who clearly lack understanding of the passage or poem about which they are writing questions. :wall:

04-26-2012, 10:30 PM
<snort> I love Daniel Pinkwater. He writes such funny kids' books.

Don't know what the standardized testing people were thinking, but whatever. . .

04-26-2012, 11:19 PM
That reminds me of a story a law school professor told me. When he took the multiple choice portion of the Bar exam, there was a passage from a Supreme Court decision and questions about what the passage meant. My professor was the law clerk who wrote the passage, and none of them were remotely close to the correct meaning.

04-27-2012, 02:04 AM
WTF? That doesn't even make sense. I also hate these stupid leaps. OK, the pineapple can talk, and so can all the animals. But the pineapple can't race? Why is a talking pineapple acceptable but a running one not? You're reading a story about a hare having a conversation with a pineapple, it's not exactly absurd in that context that the pineapple can run. I'm also stumped about which animal spoke the wisest words. Is it the owl, for pointing out that pineapples don't have sleeves?? Oof.

ETA: How the hell did the pineapple even get in the forest if it can't run?! I need to stop thinking about this. Although I did think the moral of the story was genuinely funny and I'm going to assume that was its intended effect. This reads like a Monty Python sketch or something.