Thursday, February 16, 2012

M&Ms vs. Raisins--Jennifer Hancock

My mom told me a story about when I was younger, and it will always stick with me.  Before going into pre-school they test each child to see where they are on an educational level by asking them to perform specific tasks that should be achievable for their age.  It came to a task of problem solving.  There was a raisin in an empty pop bottle, and it was my job to figure out how to get it out.  I wouldn’t do it.  I wanted nothing to do with it.  The test supervisor made notes that I “couldn’t figure it out.”  After discussing the results with my mom, the supervisor was very concerned.  After all, it was a fairly easy task for a 5 year old to conceive.  My mom simply replied, “Well she hates raisins.  She doesn’t want to get a raisin out.  Make it an M&M and I guarantee she could get that out real quick.”  The test supervisor was in shock.  She had never thought of that before and wondered how many other children she had marked “failed” for this specific task.  From that day on, a rasin was replaced with a M&M.
Kids aren’t going to be interested in completing a task that is not designed toward their wants and needs.  Try to think on their level.  Would a young child want the reward that’s being offered?


  1. Wow this is true. Think about how teachers/schools test children this way and when the child does not perform a certain task because they dont like certain objects and then they get a negative response about their intellectual abiltiy...Scary
    Mandy Lickteig

  2. I know this post is about a child's preference but I had a similar experience when I was younger. I flat out refused to take the test they give kids to make sure they are ready for elementary school. I was a very stubborn child. I take that back...I'm still stubborn.

    Good post!

    1. The post about being stubborn was by Katie Meehan by the way. Oops!

  3. This is scary to think that children may have gotten off to a very rough start because the test itself was flawed. I wonder how many others may have been like you? I have known some kids that just didn't care and didn't take tests seriously. We had a foster daughter that totally bombed an IQ test but the counselor knew that she wasn't giving her best effort so she was retested. She did have some learning disabilities but it wasn't as bad as she tested. She ended up graduating and is now attending college.

    Chuck Harper

  4. When I first started reading this blog, I thought it was going to be about a child's eating habits. So many times we set children up to fail. We ask them to do things that are just not possible for their developmental age. When a child does fail, parents need to be mindful of the task the child was asked to perform. Was the task beyond the child's grasp? This will lead to frustration for the child and parent? Children develop at their own pace. As adults, we should not expect anything more.
    Susan Davis