Moo point

1st December 2006 at 00:00
A fictional cow has become a target for angry New York parents, who are complaining that test questions about the animal have sabotaged their nine-year-olds' prospects of landing places in the city's middle schools.

The unlikely villain is Brownie the Cow, a character in a reading comprehension exercise in this year's New York State English language arts exam.

The cow appeared in a parable entitled Why the Rooster Crows at Dawn.

Parents have complained that questions probing Brownie's behaviour would baffle most adults, let alone nine-year-olds.

The New York Times branded the brouhaha "Browniegate". The affair has even spawned its own protest website, set up by parents and teachers, lampooning the questions, which it says show up wider flaws with the test.

The website www.browniethecow.org accuses officials of committing "educational malpractice". But Jonathan Burman, spokesman for New York State education department, leapt to the besieged bovine's defence: "The question was field-tested and kids didn't find it confusing," he said, pointing out that it accounted for just 1.8 of the 43 points available.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now