The Pineapple and the Hare: Pearson's absurd, nonsensical ELA exam, recycled endlessly throughout country

There was a ridiculous passage on Tuesday’s 8th grade NY State ELA exam about a Pineapple and a Hare, along with some equally absurd questions.  Here is a comment about the passage from a student:

I had this same story for my 8th grade ELA New York state test! Everybody was talking about it afterward & how it didn't make any sense. I read the story at least 5 times over because i was so confused and the story made no sense to me! Also, the questions that came after it was confusing!

Apparently, the same reading passage and associated questions have been recycled by Pearson for standardized exams in Florida, Illinois, Delaware, New Mexico, Arkansas, Alabama, and perhaps other states, causing huge confusion among students for at least the last seven years. 
There is even a Facebook page about this absurd reading passage and the ridiculous questions that students have been asked about it since 2006; as well as commentary and discussion since 2007 on this blog: In the Break Room: Pineapples Don't Have Sleeves.
Here is the original post of an Illinois parent, named Bryan, in 2007: “Who picks the stories for the ISAT [Ilinois Standardized Achievement Test]? was someone all alone in a dark room, petulantly muttering "I'll show 'em!" 
As another student wrote in 2008 , “The pineapple story is... astounding. How could this even make it past the school board?! Who thought, "Hey! This story makes TOTAL sense?”
In 2009, a different student wrote: “We had this on our eighth grade SATs. It was completely pointless, and none of the answer choices were straightforward. It was insane. “
Another wrote, the same year, “I had that story on my testing today (in Arkansas) i thought it was so stupid, me and my friends couldn't keep ourselves from laughing. seriously, the moral of the story is that pineapples don't have sleeves? That’s nice."
In 2010, a student wrote, “We had the same question on the Delaware Student Testing Program, Delaware’s state test! I was so confused!
And another the same year, “It's on the Alabama test too! When I read it, I just put down random answers since I had no clue.  I'm still confused about the WHOLE thing.
And an Arkansas student the same year, “I had to read this story recently for the Arkansas SAT9 test. I am in the eighth grade and it took every ounce of will power i had to not either a) bust out laughing, or b) yell out "what is this???" in the middle of the test... This was one of the stupidest stories I have ever had to read for a standardized test... though it was definitely the talk of the school after we took the test and everyone got different answers to the questions because, lets face it, there were no good answers... “
And on and on and on. 
Here is the author’s response after being asked about this “random and pointless” story in 2006:
March 22nd, 2006
From: Aaron Smith
Mr. Pinkwater,
This past week we have been taking the ISAT tests (Illinois Standards Achievement Test) and on the reading portion they published on of your stories. That story was "The Pineapple and the Hare." I personally enjoyed it because I like random, pointless stories. Unfortunately, we are not legally allowed to copy any part of the test book. What I am asking from you, is if it would be possible to send me an email with that story, or if possible, a signed copy to my home address.
Daniel replies:
I don't have a copy--don't even remember writing it. Evidently I knocked it out for money from whoever makes up those tests. The good news is that all of my stories are random and pointless.
Here, again, is the story if you’d like to read it.
From various reports, these appear to be two of the questions:  
Why did the animals eat the pineapple?
a. they were annoyed
b. they were amused
c. they were hungry
d. they wanted to
            Who was the wisest animal?
a.    the hare
b.    the moose
c.     The crow
d.    The owl

The ONLY right answer is Pearson; for getting paid $32 million from NY State for these recycled, annoying and pointless exams, which the NY Times said they had promised to be "less tricky"! Not to mention the millions of dollars the company is reaping from selling the associated test prep materials in our state.  [See also comments from teachers and principals about how confusing and ambiguous the ELA exams  were in other grades this year.]

 As a NYS student wrote on Tuesday:
I also took the test today, and it also baffled me. ….Unfortunately, this was an atrocious question. All the options have substantial evidence that can bolster them. With any luck, this portion of the examination was a field test and did not count.
But why put a reading passage with questions so nonsensical on a state standardized exam, either as a “field test” question or for any other purpose? Especially given the high-stakes nature of these exams, which will be used in NYC to decide which students to hold back, the school's grade on the progress reports, and in the near future, as in integral part of the new statewide teacher evaluation system.
A story that makes no sense and with questions that apparently have no right answer could wreck the confidence of any student on the first day of a strenuous three day ELA exam –was this what it was designed to do so?
 As another  NY student wrote two days ago:
 i also had this for nys ela test and the only thing anyone could talk about today was Who was the wisest? even some of the teachers got into the debate! i choose the moose bc he seemed the wisest but i still dont get it and no1 else does, not even my ela teacher! It seems like it was written by a 4th grader i thought it was a joke when i first read it. oh well looks like everyones gonna b in ais [Academic Intervention Services] English next year....
You have read this article 2012 / 8th grade exam / Arkansas / Daniel Pinkwater / Delaware / exams / FCAT / ISAT / New Mexico / NYS ELA / Pearson / Pineapple and the Hare / tricky and ambiguous with the title The Pineapple and the Hare: Pearson's absurd, nonsensical ELA exam, recycled endlessly throughout country. You can bookmark this page URL http://thediariesofalawstudent.blogspot.com/2012/04/the-pineapple-and-hare-pearson-absurd.html. Thanks!

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