Virginia Standards of Learning Assessments, Grade 5

District: na
State: VA

OK, since I don’t know the answer, I’m very sympathetic with fifth graders who don’t know the answer. I worry about the curriculum required to produce a correct answer.

What geologic event occurred first?

  1. Pangaea underwent formation.
  2. South America and Africa split apart.
  3. Iceland formed at the mid-Atlantic ridge.
  4. India collided with Asia, forming the Himalayan Mountains.


Louisiana Educational Assessment Program, Sample Test
District: State of Louisiana
State: LA

It’s past time to launch a campaign informing authors of the execrable uses to which Standardistos and other profiteers put their creative works. Send in the name of authors whose work is used on standardized tests. Include the author, title of work, title of test.

After we have gathered a few, we’ll start a letter-writing campaign–to the authors and their publishers.


Reading/Language Arts Test, 2nd grade
District: na
State: na

Isn’t it ironic that a national testmaker quizzes kids on the concept of recess?

Which of the following sequences is most likely to occur?

1. Students arrive at school, students eat lunch in the cafeteria, students go outside for afternoon recess, students go home.

This is followed by same responses, rearranged in different order.


The Praxis Series
Educational Testing Service
District: na
State: na

The fact that paraprofessionals making $8.00 an hour–or less–are beseiged by inappropriate NCLB credentialism rules goes ignored by the media.

Comment: I won\’t go into a rant about the wrong-mindedness of basing reading comprehension on someone\’s being familiar with the antiquated idiom playing possum.

What my husband, the hard-headed scientist, and I argued for half an hour over was the right answer. I insist there are two \”not wrong\” answers. He sides with ETS and says you have to go with the obvious answer and not get involved in any deep meaning crap. He agrees that it is a subtle distinction and intend to separate the wheat from the chaff. He also agrees that it is abusive to post this as the first question on the test.

I don\’t think tests for paraprofessionals, or third graders, or high schoolers, should be about sorting out winners and losers. They should only test for minimum competency. Let the Graduate Record Exam and tests for lawyers and doctors do that.

The opossum is famous for \”playing possum\” (faking death to avoid danger). When the animal plays possum, its body becomes limp and its breathing is difficult to detect. Some scientists claim that this is an involuntary condition, like fainting. I disagree. I have seen the opossum recover at will from the supposedly involuntary state of shock. If the opossum thinks the danger has departed, it soon arises, looks around, and takes off quickly.

The author of the passage disagrees with the scientists about

a) the reasons why the opossum plays possum
b) the frequency with which the opossum plays possum.
c) whether the opossum has voluntary control when playing possum
d) whether the opossum\’s breathing slows when playing possum


Tennesee Comprehensive Assessment Program
District: na
State: TN

Obviously, many children will be at a disadvantage if they don\’t know what a lasso is.

In question 2, I see a lot of opinions: Mike has an opinion on how to tie a lasso. He has an opinion about hard work. Someone thinks the calf\’s nose is pink and soft. Others might disagree. Some may think the pond is still frozen, but if you read the paragraph, you\’ll find out that a calf fell through. So just what do the writers and test makers mean by frozen?]

Here are two questions based on this passage.

1. Kim is writing a paragraph about the character Lydia in the passage “Lydia’s Lasso.” Read her topic sentence.

Lydia is a brave girlwho wants to help more on the ranch.

Which sentence from the story best supports Kim’s topic sentence?

a) Mike was Lydia’s cousin, and he was nearly sixteen years old.

b) She lassoed a log that had been frozen upright in the ice.

c) She wanted a lasso cattle from high atop a horse.

d) It was a good quarter of a mile away from all the action.

2. Which of these sentences from the passage is an opinion?

a) “This is how you tie a lasso,” said Mike.

b) “This is hard work and it can be dangerous.”

c) It bounced off the tip of the calf’s soft pink nose.

d) The pond was still frozen from the winter temperatures.


Practice Test ParaPro Assessment
Educational Testing Service
District: na
State: na

The questions on this test required of professionals to keep their jobs raise an important issue: Is it the appropriate role of a paraprofessional to teach reading strategies?

Questions 1-2 are baed on the following passage, which students are reading in class.

Spectacles with concave lenses to correct for myopia were first made in the fifteenth century. Because they corrected foro poor distance vision, in an era when most eyeglasses were used for reading, they were considered less essential for pursuits of the mind and consequently were rarer and more costly than convex lenses.

1. A student is having trouble understanding the word “myopia.” What would be an effective strategy a paraprofessional could use to help the student understand the word?

a) Explain that it is OK to skip a word or two when reading a difficult passage.

b) Ask the student to come up with a list of words that rhyme with “myopia.”

c? Suggest that the student reread the second sentence to find clues about the meaning of “myopia.”

d) Suggest that the student examine the root of the word “myopia” to determine its meaning.

2. The paraprofessional asks the students to summarize the main idea of the passage. Which response from the students is most accurate?

a) Concave lenses and convex lenses are made the same way today as they were in the fifteenth century.

b) In the fifteenth century spectacles with concave lenses were used less often than spectacles with convex lenses.

c) Eyeglasses used for reading can have either concave or convex lenses.

D) Eyeglasses were very costly in the fifteenth century.

CTB McGraw Hill

4th grade reading test
District: na
State: NY

If you think you know the answer to this question, try looking up pretzelin the encyclopedia. I found one sentence that might be termed historical in my old cookbook A World of Breads by Dolores Casella (David White 1966): “Old-time pretzel makers dipped the pretzels into a lye solution.”

I’m sure if you read the New York Times food section every Wednesday, eventually they’ll do pretzels. But in the last 30 days, the only time the word pretzel has appeared in the New York Tiemes is mention of a coming “Auntie Anne’s pretzel shop.

On December 31, 2003, a Times writer noted, “It wouldn’t be Philadelphia without soft pretzels.” But the article was about bagels.

On October 22, 2003, movie critic A. O. Scott used this mixed metaphor, which doesn’t seem historic: “The story turns out to be fairly conventional, with an end that is a stale pretzel bowl of surprise twists, and the psychology of the characters can be frustratingly obscure, but there are nonetheless images and ideas that stick like splinters under your skin.”

After reading a passage about how pretzels are made, 4th graders are asked:

The best source of information about the history of pretzels would probably be

a) a cookbook

b) an almanac

c) an encyclopedia

d) a daily newspaper


Georgia Criterion-Referenced Competencies Test
District: na
State: GA

What on earth are they trying to get at?

Test for Grade 3

What change should be made to the phrase “stir it around” in the sentence below? 

Put the rubber banded shirt in the dye and stir it around with an old stick.

a. stir it round and round

b. stir it about

c. stir it

d. stir it all over


Youth Upchuck Criterion Kink
YUCK, Inc.
District: na
State: na

Choose the answer that best ends each sentence.

1. Robin Hood was not a Standardista because ____.

a) He did not own the forest.

b) He did things backwards, stealing from the rich and giving to the poor.

c) He never paid $2,000 for dinner at a Republican fundraiser.

d) He didn’t make 3rd graders cry.

e) All of the above.

2. You can tell a Standardista has died when ____.

a) He doesn’t shrug when a third grader cries.

b) He doesn’t genuflect when you pull out a Standard and Poor’s report.

c) He doesn’t ask for your SAT score.

d) You see children’s SAT scores ingraved on the coffin.

e) All of the above.


Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills
Institute for the Development of Educational Achievement
District: na
State: OR

Read this sample from the test that is infecting young children across the country.

The tester (probably someone the child does not know)shows a page of pictures and tells the kindergartner:

This is mouse, flowers, pillow, letters.

Mouse begins with the sound/m/. Listen, /m/ mouse. Which one begins with the sound /l/?

There is a picture of scattered envelopes. What if the kindergartner thinks this looks like mail? How many households still get letters delivered by the postal carrier? Do we talk about the letter box–or the mail box? And so on.

Another group of pictures provide more problems: The tester says, This is bump, insect, refrigerator, skate.

The child sees bumper cars, a grasshopper, refrigerator, and a roller skate. So the kid has to sit there trying to remember that what he thought was a grasshopper is really an insect.

This is rooster, mule, fly, soap.

Doesn’t this make you wonder when they will get some items relevant to urban kids?

Here’s Benchmark K-3: DIBELS Nonesense Word Fluency:

Look at this word. It’s a make-believe word. Watch me read the word: /s/ /i/ /m/ “sim”. I can say the sounds of the letters, /s/ /i/ /m/, or I can read the whole word “sim”.

The student practices a make-believe word. Then comes the test.

Here are some more make-believe words. Start here and go across the page. When I say “begin”, read the words the best you can. . . .

hoj rij ad bol em
buv haj en wof loj
tuc rul vab fum han
hol mun yud dav dub
paj jav lak diz nom
vif kon juf miz vuv
zep yac dac jom rej
zuz vum zus tej zub
wob jec oc rit def
neb kif wab ov ruj

Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills 6th edition Kindergarten Scoring Booklet DIBELS Benchmark Assessment is available online: