French Students Protest 'Impossible' English Test
Some 12K students not 'coping' well, have signed a petition
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 24, 2015 9:21 AM CDT
Teachers and education employees march on a sign reading "School" during a demonstration to protest government plans to reform the education system in Paris, May 19, 2015.   (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
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(Newser) – When teens in France recently sat down to take an English language test, they were asked a pair of questions about Ian McEwan's novel Atonement: "What are three of his concerns about the situation?" and "How is Turner coping with the situation?" That latter question was apparently a head-scratcher due to the word "coping," which one 17-year-old described as being so advanced a verb that "only someone bilingual" would know it, reports the BBC. So students started a petition, addressed to France's minister of education, that has some 12,000 signatures.

In the petition, students describe what is now known as "Question M" as being "incomprehensible and impossible to answer" and ask that the question either not count at all or be treated as a bonus question due to its level of difficulty. But not all French students find this reasonable, reports the Local. One 18-year-old took to Twitter to say it's "totally wrong" to petition against a test simply because a question is difficult. (Another petition of international consequence garnered 100,000 signatures in the US last year.)