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The Pineapple and the Hare. Simple reading comprehension question BAFFLES NY educators.

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posted on Apr, 23 2012 @ 01:33 PM
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A simple reading comprehension question has baffled educators and students in the New York school system. You really can't blame the students for not being able to discern the answers; if the people in charge of their education aren't equipped with the skills to decipher simple a reading comprehention question, how can you expect them to pass those skills along to their students?


Talking pineapple question on state exam stumps ... everyone!
Students, teachers, principals - no one has any idea what the deal is


Students across the state are still scratching their heads over an absurd state test question about a talking pineapple.

The puzzler on the eighth-grade reading exam stumped even educators and has critics saying the tests, which are becoming more high stakes, are flawed.

“I think it’s weird that they put such a silly question on a state test. What were they thinking?” said Bruce Turley, 14, an eighth-grader at Lower Manhattan Community Middle School.

“I thought it was a little strange, but I just answered it as best as I could,” said his classmate Tyree Furman, 14. “You just have to give it your best answer. These are important tests.”


In response to revelations that the state exams had become predictable and easier to pass, the state last year awarded a new $32 million contract to testing company Pearson to overhaul the tests.

The new exams have higher stakes for principals and teachers statewide, whose evaluations will be based in part on student scores beginning as soon as this year.
Scarsdale Middle School Principal Michael McDermott said the question has been used before and “confused students in six or seven different states.”

And he had a quick answer to the question of who is the wisest: “Pearson for getting paid $32 million for recycling this crap.”


Actually, IMO, Pearson came up with the perfect solution to the problem of teachers "teaching to the test"; they created a problem in which the students would have to use their intellect and reading comprehension skills to determine the answer to a test question.

Here is the question that's caused such an uproar:



The Hare and the Pineapple

by Daniel Pinkwater

In olden times, the animals of the forest could speak English just like you and me. One day, a pineapple challenged a hare to a race.

(I forgot to mention, fruits and vegetables were able to speak too.)

A hare is like a rabbit, only skinnier and faster. This particular hare was known to be the fastest animal in the forest.

“You, a pineapple have the nerve to challenge me, a hare, to a race,” the hare asked the pineapple. “This must be some sort of joke.”

“No,” said the pineapple. “I want to race you. Twenty-six miles, and may the best animal win."

"You aren't even an animal!" the hare said. “You're a tropical fruit!"

“Well, you know what I mean,” the pineapple said.


The animals of the forest thought it was very strange that tropical fruit should want to race a very fast animal.

"The pineapple has some trick up its sleeve," a moose said.

Pineapples don't have sleeves, an owl said

"Well, you know what I mean,” the moose said. "If a pineapple challenges a hare to a race, it must be that the pineapple knows some secret trick that will allow it to win.”

“The pineapple probably expects us to root for the hare and then look like fools when it loses,” said a crow. “Then the pineapple will win the race because the hare is overconfident and takes a nap, or gets lost, or something.”

The animals agreed that this made sense. There was no reason a pineapple should challenge a hare unless it had a clever plan of some sort. So the animals, wanting to back a winner, all cheered for the pineapple.

When the race began, the hare sprinted forward and was out of sight in less than a minute. The pineapple just sat there, never moving an inch.

The animals crowded around watching to see how the pineapple was going to cleverly beat the hare. Two hours later when the hare cross the finish line, the pineapple was still sitting still and hadn't moved an inch.

The animals ate the pineapple.

MORAL: Pineapples don't have sleeves


Beginning with paragraph 4, in what order are the events in the story told?

A switching back and forth between places

B In the order in which the events happen

C Switching back and forth between the past and the present

D In the order in which the hare tells the events to another animal


The animals ate the pineapple most likely because they were

A Hungry

B Excited

C Annoyed

D Amused

Which animal spoke the wisest words?

A The hare

B The moose

C The crow

D The owl

Before the race, how did the animals feel toward the pineapple?
A Suspicious

B Kindly

C Sympathetic

D Envious

What would have happened if the animals had decided to cheer for the hare?

A The pineapple would have won the race.

B They would have been mad at the hare for winning.

C The hare would have just sat there and not moved.

D They would have been happy to have cheered for a winner.

When the moose said that the pineapple has some trick up its sleeve, he means that the pineapple

A is wearing a disguise

B wants to show the animals a trick

C has a plan to fool the animals

D is going to put something out of its sleeve

NY Daily News

They were upset over the questions asking who was the wisest and why did they eat the pineapple. The key to the whole problem is reading comprehension. The answer to the wisest animal question is right there in the text if you take the time to think about the question properly.

I won't give out the answer just yet, that would take all the fun out of this thread. Let's see who's smart enough to figure it out.


BTW: the end result of all of this is that the question was pulled from the exam. I guess they can't have students in their school system be expected to use critical thinking in order to solve problems.



Officials pull puzzling pineapple question from state tests



They canned the pineapple.

Education officials scratched a bizarre item about a race between a pineapple and a hare from the state’s high-stakes exams a day after the Daily News focused attention on the inscrutable puzzler.

State Education Commissioner John King said that the infamous question won’t be counted in New York's eighth-grade reading tests because of its “ambiguous nature” in a statement released Friday.

NY Daily News

"Teach to the test" wins another battle.


edit on 4/23/12 by FortAnthem because:
_________ extra DIV




posted on Apr, 23 2012 @ 01:42 PM
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reply to post by FortAnthem
 



Beginning with paragraph 4, in what order are the events in the story told?

A switching back and forth between places

B In the order in which the events happen

C Switching back and forth between the past and the present

D In the order in which the hare tells the events to another animal


This is B


The animals ate the pineapple most likely because they were

A Hungry

B Excited

C Annoyed

D Amused


I think it's A.


Which animal spoke the wisest words?

A The hare

B The moose

C The crow

D The owl


It's the owl

Before the race, how did the animals feel toward the pineapple?
A Suspicious

B Kindly

C Sympathetic

D Envious

It's A


What would have happened if the animals had decided to cheer for the hare?

A The pineapple would have won the race.

B They would have been mad at the hare for winning.

C The hare would have just sat there and not moved.

D They would have been happy to have cheered for a winner.

D of course

When the moose said that the pineapple has some trick up its sleeve, he means that the pineapple

A is wearing a disguise

B wants to show the animals a trick

C has a plan to fool the animals

D is going to put something out of its sleeve


This is C.

The problem is reading comprehension is not a common skill most people possess. Just read the threads around here if you need proof. I think the second question is the only one that confused me a little. It never really says why. I just figured it had been sitting there for two hours and none of the other emotions are implied in that paragraph so my natural inclination is to assume they are hungry.
edit on 23-4-2012 by antonia because: added something



posted on Apr, 23 2012 @ 01:47 PM
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I can honestly see why they canned the pineapple.


That was the most confusing story. I'm glad that you got this, but the majority, I'm sure didn't and it's not because of reading comprehension.

Maybe I need to go back to school?


for the record I had B, C, D, A, D, C.
edit on 23-4-2012 by Goldcurrent because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 23 2012 @ 01:47 PM
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This is ridiculous. A test should be simple to understand especially for 8th Grade Students (Age 15 roughly). Whoever is writing the story should not introduce new laws of physics, complex story problems involving multiple thought progressions, and characters that don't have logical thoughts. This guy did all three.

Pineapples (or fruits and vegetables) have never been known to be characters in stories or tests. Animals are somewhat common, but it's best to use people because the students can relate to humans.

Before the race, all of the characters argue over why the pineapple is racing. Each of them present their ideas, and argue over which one is right. Instead of guessing on the outcome, they try to figure out what made the pineapple want to race the hare. This might be good for a novel or even a short story, but not on a test with 1000 words or less.

Also, why did the animals eat the pineapple? They are animals, and could have been hungry. They could also have been mad that the hare won. Either way the story doesn't provide enough information to make a good conclusion.



posted on Apr, 23 2012 @ 01:51 PM
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Ahhh absurdism, separating the goats from the sheep since whenever the hell it was invented.

I liked to test my English teachers once a year when I was in school, by writing a grammatically and structurally unassailable absurdist story or essay. Those who gave me anything less than a passing grade, I deemed unfit to teach me. My fifth, ninth, eleventh, and twelfth grade English teachers all passed. The rest did not.



posted on Apr, 23 2012 @ 01:53 PM
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reply to post by questforevidence
 


I agree. The reason's for eating the pineapple? Seriously? That's too arbitrary. Who knows what was going through the minds of these animals? Stupid question.

edit on 23-4-2012 by Goldcurrent because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 23 2012 @ 01:53 PM
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The owl is the wisest, every other animal is dumb.


Not to mention the saying, "wise owl."

I like this question a lot, it's much more interesting than something like, "Jack and Sally have 4 apples, Jack eats an apple, how many apples do they have?"

I agree, critical thinking is a thing of the past; kids get dumber with every passing generation.



posted on Apr, 23 2012 @ 01:54 PM
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I chose the same answers as the op except I answered crow not owl.
If you go back, the crow had explained his thoughts better than the owl did.

I should let my 13 year old read it and see what he says.
edit on 23/4/12 by shadow watcher because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 23 2012 @ 01:56 PM
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Originally posted by shadow watcher
I chose the same answers as the op except I answered crow not owl.
If you go back, the crow had explained his thoughts better than the owl did.

I should let my 13 year old read it and see what he says.
edit on 23/4/12 by shadow watcher because: (no reason given)


The end moral is the clue as to who is the wisest.



posted on Apr, 23 2012 @ 01:57 PM
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reply to post by FortAnthem
 


I answered B, A, A, A D, C.

Do I pass?



posted on Apr, 23 2012 @ 01:59 PM
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Originally posted by questforevidence
This is ridiculous. A test should be simple to understand especially for 8th Grade Students (Age 15 roughly). Whoever is writing the story should not introduce new laws of physics, complex story problems involving multiple thought progressions, and characters that don't have logical thoughts. This guy did all three.

Pineapples (or fruits and vegetables) have never been known to be characters in stories or tests. Animals are somewhat common, but it's best to use people because the students can relate to humans.

Before the race, all of the characters argue over why the pineapple is racing. Each of them present their ideas, and argue over which one is right. Instead of guessing on the outcome, they try to figure out what made the pineapple want to race the hare. This might be good for a novel or even a short story, but not on a test with 1000 words or less.

Also, why did the animals eat the pineapple? They are animals, and could have been hungry. They could also have been mad that the hare won. Either way the story doesn't provide enough information to make a good conclusion.


I thoroughly disagree. We shouldn't try to make our children dumber, and dumbing down tests even more than they already are is simply pathetic. Enough that fifteen is considered an acceptable age for an eighth grader, apparently! (13 was average when I was in 8th grade! And that was only 11 years ago...and I went to school in the ghetto... in Texas!) Have our standards really gotten this low?

The questions on this prompt are VERY simple questions. The story is VERY simple. There are no events in the story which are not explained well by the story itself, or heavily implied by action. The questions cover things that were basic learning for me when I was in fifth grade, such as story structure and inference. And yet this is for children who are older than ten years old.

We really, really need to worry about the state of the youth, because this kind of... well, stupidity, not to put too fine a point on it, should be guddamn unacceptable to us as a society.



posted on Apr, 23 2012 @ 02:00 PM
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I'd say the Hare spoke the wisest words...


And they ate him because they were annoyed







posted on Apr, 23 2012 @ 02:00 PM
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Originally posted by antonia
reply to post by FortAnthem
 



Beginning with paragraph 4, in what order are the events in the story told?

A switching back and forth between places

B In the order in which the events happen

C Switching back and forth between the past and the present

D In the order in which the hare tells the events to another animal


B


The animals ate the pineapple most likely because they were

A Hungry

B Excited

C Annoyed

D Amused


C


Which animal spoke the wisest words?

A The hare

B The moose

C The crow

D The owl


The Hare - only one to know who was going to win.

Before the race, how did the animals feel toward the pineapple?
A Suspicious

B Kindly

C Sympathetic

D Envious

A


What would have happened if the animals had decided to cheer for the hare?

A The pineapple would have won the race.

B They would have been mad at the hare for winning.

C The hare would have just sat there and not moved.

D They would have been happy to have cheered for a winner.

D of course

When the moose said that the pineapple has some trick up its sleeve, he means that the pineapple

A is wearing a disguise

B wants to show the animals a trick

C has a plan to fool the animals

D is going to put something out of its sleeve


This is C.

I stole Forts setup out of laziness. These are my answers.



posted on Apr, 23 2012 @ 02:02 PM
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Originally posted by antonia

Originally posted by shadow watcher
I chose the same answers as the op except I answered crow not owl.
If you go back, the crow had explained his thoughts better than the owl did.

I should let my 13 year old read it and see what he says.
edit on 23/4/12 by shadow watcher because: (no reason given)


The end moral is the clue as to who is the wisest.


I agree - the owl was the wisest. But, I think the animals ate the pineapple because they were annoyed. I know I was certainly annoyed. It's a goofy story, no matter how you look at it.

My question is - what the heck is a tropical fruit doing in a forest???



posted on Apr, 23 2012 @ 02:02 PM
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reply to post by antonia
 


I stand corrected (insofar as the author chooses who is the wisest).



posted on Apr, 23 2012 @ 02:03 PM
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Daniel Pinkwater is a very good children's author who has penned many good books. This story and its following questions is actually very good. That it was pulled is a travesty. The questions are about the story and perfectly valid. Here's what the author himself has to say on the subject. As you will see, someone changed an eggplant into a pineapple. Personally, I like one of his first books, Fat Men from Space, a book I read to my daughter constantly when she was about four.



posted on Apr, 23 2012 @ 02:05 PM
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Originally posted by antonia


Which animal spoke the wisest words?

A The hare

B The moose

C The crow

D The owl


It's the owl


It's always the Owl that the wisest eh? Just because he knew how many licks to get to the center of a tootsie pop I reckon? That Smacks of Owl Superiority to me.

And people wonder why our education system is a mess.



posted on Apr, 23 2012 @ 02:10 PM
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I love it! Abstraction and logic rolled into one: no wonder people complained about it. You can't "teach to the test" with things such as this.

Teachers should be teaching basic skills, the three "R's" if you will, and logic and deduction skills; teach nothing more nor less. That there are complaints about this reveals that the teachers have their own interests at heart and not the interests of the students.

edit on 4/23/2012 by abecedarian because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 23 2012 @ 02:10 PM
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Originally posted by schuyler
Daniel Pinkwater is a very good children's author who has penned many good books. This story and its following questions is actually very good. That it was pulled is a travesty. The questions are about the story and perfectly valid. Here's what the author himself has to say on the subject. As you will see, someone changed an eggplant into a pineapple. Personally, I like one of his first books, Fat Men from Space, a book I read to my daughter constantly when she was about four.


The story you linked makes a little more sense. Also, it says the animals bet lots of money on the eggplant. That makes it very clear why they ate the eggplant afterwards - they were ticked off at losing all that money. The story on the test doesn't say anything about the animals losing anything on the race, so it's unclear as to why they ate the pineapple.

The story on the test was butchered, and that's a shame.



posted on Apr, 23 2012 @ 02:14 PM
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I found an interview with the author of the passage
blogs.wsj.com...
He says that there are no answers.






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