November 2003 (v6 i3)
Doubting the moon landing since 1997
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South American monkey passes TAKS test
by Camden Gilman, Staff Writer

SAN ANTONIO, TX — The State Board of Education announced last Thursday that Mr. Jangles, a 3-year-old cebidae monkey, has scored a passing grade on the 11th grade Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) Exit Level test. Mr. Jangles has become the first ever non-human to accomplish such an achievement.

“We knew Mr. Jangles was something special when she was able to break the seal of the exam with the eraser end of her pencil. Almost no students are able to perform that task,” commented high school math teacher and test proctor Dean Wilkerson. “It’s always frustrating when other states around the nation are able to out-score Texas on a standardized test, but I don’t know if our school was ready to hear that another species has out-performed some of our students.”

TAKS, which replaced the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills (TAAS) test in 2003, is produced by the Student Assessment Division of the Texas Education Agency. Although they declined to comment, one anonymous source claims that a committee will be formed to evaluate Mr. Jangles’ performance.

Although Mr. Jangles was the first non-human primate to pass TAKS, she was not the first take the exam. Chimpanzees, gorillas, gibbons, and baboons have all attempted to pass the TAKS in the four of the subjects it covers: Mathematics, Social Studies, Science, and English/Language Arts. The disappointing results from other breeds of primates lead many to believe that the TAKS tests’ results reflect biases against certain species. Such biases might account for the poor performance of apes compared to New World monkeys.

Kent Fairstone, a zoologist and orangutan trainer in San Diego, strongly believes that these tests favor non-apes.

“When looking at the exam, I could easily see that many of the questions could be more ape-accessible if they were worded differently or were more topic-appropriate.”

Sassy, one of Mr. Fairstone’s star pupils, appears to agree. “Baby apple hungry apple moon. Goodbye!” communicated Sassy through a series of hand signs.

Biased or not, Mr. Jangles’ passing score on the TAKS test will no doubt continue to make waves long after the talk of Darwinism, mistreatment of animals, and the poor state of education dies down.
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