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 included on this year’s New York State third-grade reading test, is easy to read. But a couple of the questions that went along with it on the test were trickier, stumping many third graders and, perhaps, even a few much older readers....Reached at home in northern England, the author of the passage, Saviour Pirotta, said that he did not know that his story, part of a book he wrote called “Around the World in 80 Tales,” was being used on the New York tests, but that he was not displeased. (His publisher, Macmillan, granted permission for its use.)He was initially stumped by the same question Dr. Afflerbach took issue with, but when told the answer, he said it made sense.Mr. Pirotta described the moral of the story as that keeping secrets is hard but a skill worth learning. On the final question, which was answered correctly by 48 percent of students, the test-writers suggested there was another lesson, and Mr. Pirotta said he agreed with that interpretation, too.“You can sort of read different things into it,” he said.
Sure, you can read different things into - but you can only get one correct answer on a standardized test.
If the author if the passage couldn't get some of the questions about the passage he wrote right, how good could those questions be?