Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Steamy adult novel or standardized test excerpt?

"Ruby sat on the bed she shared with her husband holding a hairclip.  There was something mysterious and powerful about the cheaply manufactured neon clip that she was fondling in her newly suspicious palms.  She didn't recognize the hairclip.  It was too big to be their daughter's, and Ruby was sure that it wasn't hers.  She hadn't had friends over in weeks but here was this hairclip, little and green with a few long black hair strands caught in it.  She ran her fingers through her own blonde hair.  She had just been vacuuming when she noticed this small, bright green object under the bed.  Now their life would never be the same.  She would wait here until Mike returned home."

Oh my.  A tale of deception and deceit.   Perhaps a new novel by Gwendolyn Graves?

Wait.   The style is different.  Maybe it is a break-out new author.


Guess again.

Steamy sex novel?  Intrigue?  Extramarital affair?  Harlequin non-romance?


This, my friends, is a practice reading selection for the End of Course (EOC) Exam for English I in Texas Public Schools.

My last blog post was about our exiting freshman son and his issues with the English I Reading EOC.  In a nutshell, he isn't a test taker.  Standardized tests are the bane of the poor boy's educational experience.  And, he missed "the standard" for the English I Reading EOC by mere points.  With an 89 for the year in pre-AP English I.  He participated in weeks 2 and 3 of an EOC review course (because we were not notified about the course until week 1 was almost over.)  We felt he needed to take the course in case the test causes him issues again.  We've asked about the course - he isn't thrilled about it, but told us that the the instructor was pleased with his performance on practice tests.

I did not realize any of those practice tests had come home until I was picking up the house today.  I found a file folder of papers on the dining room table that included the passage I shared with you.

He was to "make logical inference's based on the textual details."  The other three scenarios included in the practice exercise were not an issue.  But, this one?  I must wonder who wrote this passage.  It isn't just the inferences that are to be made about the paragraph.  I also have issues with the suggestive undertone.  "Sharing a bed", "cheaply", "fondling".  Really?  This is the material our son is reading and studying with all his might to answer logical inference questions?

Our son is at Boy Scout camp, so I cannot discuss the passage with him.  I do not know if the answers on the paper are his alone or if this was class work.  But, the inferences in this passage - whether our son  picked up on them or not - are completely inappropriate.

My last post revolved around the one day of testing and the standard that our son did not meet.  Now that I've seen the review, I'm pleased he didn't meet this standard.  I am truly glad his first inference in a school reading passage is not an extramarital affair.

For the record, I do not know if this review was produced by our school district or the state of Texas.  I have googled it with no hits.