Saturday, April 21, 2012

“Pineapples don’t have sleeves”

A Daniel Pinkwater story, adapted for a standardized test, is in the news.

[I discovered Pinkwater’s books in adulthood. My favorites: Aunt Lulu and Young Adult Novel.]

comments: 4

Daughter Number Three said...

The idea of putting an absurdist story on a standardized test is a bit strange. But what did you think of the last question, where they were asking the child to define what "up his sleeve" meant? Would that be considered a fair reading comprehension question, based on the text?

Michael Leddy said...

It sounds like a question meant to test an understanding of figurative language. But all the question might really be testing is whether the test-taker knows a particular expression. I’m not sure what eighth-graders would make of the question.

The question that baffles me concerns the wisdom of the animals. It’s not clear to me that the owl is wisest here, though I knew right away that the owl would be the answer the test-makers are looking for. But it makes good sense to read the owl’s observation as literal-minded and dumb. And then that observation becomes a funny moral, both literal and figurative.

I think the test-makers should be eaten.

Daughter Number Three said...

I wasn't sure what grade level the test was. If it's 8th grade, then "up his sleeve" seems like a more fair possibility for a question. I agree the wisdom question was a stumper, except that the owl seemed like the best choice out of four bad ones.

Michael Leddy said...

Yes, it was eighth grade (at least that’s what the article seems to Imply). Maybe the eggplant is the wisest, for staying out of the story.