Texas offers bad questions on its standardized educational tests
No real surprise: Texas in the state in which the GOP tried to make it illegal to teach critical thinking skills. But in this case the questions about two poems were so bad that the poet herself could not answer them. Valerie Strauss reports in the Washington Post:
Badly worded or poorly conceived questions on standardized tests are not uncommon (remember the question about a “talking pineapple” on a New York test in 2012?). But here’s something new: The author of source material on two Texas standardized tests says she can’t actually answer the questions about her own work because they are so poorly conceived. She also says she can’t understand why at least one of her poems — which she calls her “most neurotic” — was included on a standardized test for students.
The author is Sara Holbrook, who has written numerous books of poetry for children, teens and adults, as well as professional books for teachers. She also visits schools and speaks at educator conferences worldwide, with her partner Michael Salinger, providing teacher and classroom workshops on writing and oral presentation skills. Her first novel, “The Enemy: Detroit 1954” will be released March 7.
In this amusing but sobering post, Holbrook writes about the episode. This first appeared on the Huffington Post, and Holbrook gave me permission to republish.
The tests on which Holbrook’s poems appeared are the STARR, the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness. The questions were released by the Texas Education Agency. Teachers use past test questions to prepare students for future exams.
Click the link above (or here) to read Holbrook’s article.