Exam’s ‘Talking Pineapple’ Question Causes Stir

by | April 20, 2012 at 10:18 AM | General

A question on a state exam for New York’s eighth-graders isn’t just eating away at students.

Parents, teachers, and others are baffled over the nonsensical puzzler, which features a talking pineapple.

The New York Daily News reported on the confusion and outrage that followed after parent and schools activist Leonie Haimson posted the question on a blog.

A spin on the old tortoise-and-hare fable, the question has the pineapple challenging the rabbit to a race where the prize is a “a ninja! And a lifetime’s supply of toothpaste!”

Naturally, the immobile pineapple doesn’t win. The exam question takes a bit of a morbid turn when the hare and some other animals celebrate the win by feasting on the once-talkative piece of fruit.

The eighth-graders have to make sense of all this by answering two questions – Why did the animals eat the pineapple? Who was the wisest?

As “Jeopardy!” legend Ken Jennings noted in a follow-up by the Daily News, none of the answers make any more sense than the question.

“Is this a joke?” Jennings asked Daily News. “The story makes no sense whatsoever. The narrative has no internal logic, the ‘moral’ is unclear, and the plot details seems so oddly chosen that the story seems to have been written during a peyote trip.”

To some, the bizarre question is far from a joke, though. Especially in light of the new $32 million contract awarded to Pearson, the test making company that submitted the doozy.

“My reaction is horror that a question that’s so obviously confusing should be used on a test that is going to be used to determine our kid’s future and the future of our children’s schools,” Haimson told the Daily News.

Students agreed.

“I think it’s weird that they put such a silly question on a state test. What were they thinking?” Bruce Turley, 14, told the paper.