Literacy Test

While surfing I came across  an online copy of the Louisiana  literacy test at the Civil Rights Movement  Veterans website and tried taking it to see precisely how unfair it was.  I failed.  I failed in multiple ways.  The instructions say “You have ten minutes to complete the test,” but it took me twelve because of the ambiguous and confusing questions.  It took me a bit to parse question 27, “Write right from the left to the right as you see it spelled here,” so I’d lay good odds someone with a fifth grade reading level would have it worse.   I also got it wrong by printing “right” instead of writing out the whole phrase in cursive.  Since any mistake means you flunk the test that’s strike two.  Question 20 says “Spell backwards, forwards”  which can be interpreted several ways, and no doubt whichever way I picked would turn out to be wrong if I were black.  Quite a few of the questions are like that.   Then there are questions that aren’t even a even a grammatical sentence, like number 30 which says “Draw five circles that one common inter-locking part.”  

Just to remove all doubt that Louisiana is dealing from the bottom of the deck, question 25 is a noted word illusion:


The great state of Louisiana was about a step a way from just asking “Are you black, yes or no?” and failing the yeses.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: