NJ school exam's "secret" question angers parents

CBS/AP

(CBS/AP) TRENTON, N.J. - Some New Jersey parents are upset about a standardized test question that asked third-graders to reveal a secret and write about why it was hard to keep.

The question appeared on the writing portion of some versions of the New Jersey Assessment of Skills and Knowledge given to third-graders this week.

Parents were especially outraged because children may have revealed information that should have stayed private.

"I guarantee you some children will be writing things family members and parents would have rather not revealed to the state," Goldberg said to the Asbury Park Press. He added that if his twin 9-year-old boys, who told him about the question on the test, would have answered "it's none of your darn business" he would have been perfectly fine with their response.

"They want to answer a question; they don't want to fail. I think somebody should be held accountable for putting children in a difficult position in the middle of a test," he added.

The state Education Department says the question was reviewed and approved by both the department and a panel of teachers. The question is being tried out and will not count in the students' scores.

Education Department spokesman Justin Barra says about 4,000 students in 15 districts had the question. According to the Asbury Park Press, the question had appeared on some versions of the language arts portion of the standardized test. The state will investigate the source of the question.

Barra says that like similar new questions, it will be reviewed before being used again.

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