Crispy Bacon – it’s NOT fair (and not just to pigs)!

May 23, 2008

In January of 1998, a public exam in A LEVEL Chemistry in the UK (the closest equivalent of AP Chemistry in the US) featured a question that started as follows;

“Propenal, CH2=CHCHO, is one of the materials that gives crispy bacon its sharp odour. In the following question assume that the carbon-carbon double bond and the aldehyde group in propenal behave independently.”

OK, nothing too sinister there you might think, but the recent comments on the AP Listerv about Question 5 on the 2008B form of AP Chemistry exam reminded me of the controversy surrounding this question from a decade ago.


A Pig
A pig earlier today had “no comment”


In 2008, a few teachers complained about the wording of the question on the recent B form of the AP exam because they thought it was confusing to students whose first language was not English. The SAME complaint was made about the “bacon question” in 1998, where some teachers complained that students from cultures that did not eat bacon would be disadvantaged. I’ll let you make up your own mind!


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