A mother has spoken out about a "racist" pop quiz her daughter was asked to take in school.

Florida woman Valerie Kennel's 11-year-old daughter Leah Davis was given a 'Lifeboat Quiz' in which she and fellow students were asked to pick who they would save from a sinking yacht.

The sixth grade students at Giunta Middle School in Riverview, near Tampa, were told they could choose only nine from a list of 15 people to take on a rescue boat.

Options included "the black guy," "the Hispanic woman," "a girl doctor" and "the pregnant woman."

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Students were also able to select between US President Barack Obama and candidate Donald Trump to save. Justin Bieber also made the list.

The test asked them to rank their choices in order of importance, "because if they run out of food and water the less important people will have to be dumped over board".

Kennel told Florida news outlet WFLA news, "This is racist in every form. This has nothing to do with history. Nothing to do with it, and what is it teaching them?

"Who do you pick? Why is one person better than the other? Why do some get left out?"

Kennel's daughter said she and several other classmates felt uncomfortable with the questions.

"Everybody in the classroom got upset about it and said, 'This is racist. This is racist.'"

A spokesperson for the school said the test was meant to be a team-building exercise that generated debate. It was not meant to be racist.

The test reads:

The yacht developed a leak and is sinking fast. There is only one lifeboat and only nine people will fit. Not one more can fit and there are no more lifeboats or lifejackets. You must come to an agreement as to which nine people you will save. You must also list people in order of importance, because if they run out of food and water the less important people will have to be dumped over board. You will have __ minutes to complete the activity. Bonus: You will get bonus points if you write in complete sentences why you chose those people for the lifeboat.

Who would you save?

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1. A pregnant woman

2. An ex-convict

3. A guy doctor

4. A girl doctor

5. A black guy

6. A white guy

7. A Hispanic woman

8. A minister

9. Donald Trump

10. Mr Hagerman (their teacher)

11. Mr Bobo

12. A rabbi

13. Barack Obama

14. Justin Bieber

15. A police officer

- nzherald.co.nz