Third Grade Test Questions: Not Even the Author of the Passage Got It Right

Diane Ravitch's blog

The state of New York released some of the questions that were used on its tests for grades 3-8. Kate Taylor and Elizabeth Harris of the New York Times wrote about a question on the third grade test that more than half of the children got wrong. When the author of the passage was asked the same question, he got it wrong. After he heard the “right answer,” it made sense to him.

The East African fable goes like this: A man frees a snake that is trapped between two rocks, and as a reward the snake gives him a charm that will allow him to hear what animals say, but only if the man keeps it a secret. The man betrays his new power by giggling at the things he hears, arousing his wife’s curiosity. He eventually tells her about the charm, and it stops working.

This story, which was…

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