So sayeth our trainer as he went over the scoring of question #44, another 2-pointer: Why does the narrator think that Miss Lucy wants to be a gardener? Use two or more details from the story to support your answer.”

Possible exemplary responses: My notes in italics

  • Miss Lucy likes to dig – location doesn’t matter
  • Miss Lucy planted (or buried) a dog biscuit (dog treat and dog bone also acceptable)
  • Other relevant text-based details
    Wants to make a dog treat plant = acceptable
    “She dug stuff” – worth 1 point on its own

This is the scoring guide’s exemplar of a response that would receive full credit:

The narrator thinks that Miss Lucy wants to be a gardener because she really liked to dig, and she dug out all the flowers and put dog biscuits. She thought they would grow.

So now we’re inferring the intentions of a non-human character. I feel really sorry for the kid who tried to make some sense out of the premise and earned a big fat zero:

Because Miss Lucy wants them to be proud of her. She plants flowers.

I kind of love that this kid interpreted the question to mean, “What are the underlying desires behind Miss Lucy’s desire to become a gardener?” I mean, why WOULD a dog want to be a gardener?

Our trainer put it best with his comment that’s the title of this entry, even though I don’t think his intention was to undermine the Almighty Test. If 3rd graders had the tech-savviness of 8th graders, this passage would be right up there with the sleeveless pineapple.