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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Any issue with today's math exams?

Today was the first day of the NY Common Core state math exams in grades 3-8.  Please note below any observations about these exams, or the reactions of students taking them.

Were they lengthy, confusing and or stressful, or were they grade appropriate with reasonably straightforward questions?  Were there any errors in the booklets or instructions? 

Comments welcome from teachers, parents and students, anonymously or not! 

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Grade 6 exam had a question where 2 of the choices were exactly the same

Anonymous said...

Thus was on one of my FB friends wall -
Anyone's 5th grader complain about the "Mary Hiking" Math problem on the state test? Turns out there actually was no correct answer. Ha! (Son) was super frustrated because he knew the answer but thought he was going nuts because it wasn't there. I would guess they are just going to throw the question out (or give everyone credit), but what a shame the wasted time on that question.

Anonymous said...

5th grade test was very fair. However, students had to read the questions carefully and underline key words in order to be a success. Most kids finished within an hour.

Anonymous said...

The Mary hiking question did have a correct answer. There was nothing difficult about it. She went to the last point and back to the second, the answer was right there.

Anonymous said...

7th gr. test was difficult; daughter and friend said they 'almost cried' because most of it (1st day) they were 'never taught". A lot of equations w/negative fractions, which I suppose they had only learned whole negative equations.

Jen Martinez said...

4th grade test was difficult:my son said he almost has a break down"almost cried because he didn't understand the questions" he couldn't finish them.

Anonymous said...

8th grade math was difficult. I have been sitting in an 8th grade math class (mixed spec Ed and General ed) all year and I could not answer at least half of the questions. It was topics the kids had been taught (word problems, functions, translations, evaluating equations, etc) but the questions were on a more complex level.

Anonymous said...

I teach 7th grade math and both days were extremely difficult. I taught all the topics but almost every question had a lot of tricky wording and many questions you had to do four or five steps to get an answer. In addition they decided that most of the questions should have mixed numbers and decimals in almost every question. I seriously doubt they had teachers read and comment on these questions. I would say it was harder than last year's test and that was harder than the year before.

Anonymous said...

This year's 7th grade test is a set of tedious problems, embedded in pointless contexts, that the strip away the need to teach conceptual understanding. If there was any input from 7th grade teachers on this year's assessment, it went largely ignored.

Operations using decimals and fractions is assessed over and over again.The average person would use a calculator when computing 1050 - 82 = 968 and then use it to find 968/40 = 24.2 and yet a 7th grader, under the pressure of time and a testing environment is asked to make these types of calculations repeatedly. These kinds of skills are covered in grades 3 to 5 so why bring this material back again?

There are also numerous problems that ask students to perform operations on expressions that have signed fractions and decimals, which further adds to the tedium of this assessment. In addition to performing this algorithm, students have to account for negative fractions, negative decimals, and have to decide when to convert between decimals and fractions since the answers can be either a fraction or a decimal. This problem type shows up three times in Book 1.

The algebra that students are asked to do amounts to little more than the combining of like terms using signed decimal values or integers. The perimeter of the pentagon was particularly galling because the context was unnecessary and in no way helped students answer the problem.

How does this assessment assess critical thinking or conceptual understanding when the majority of the questions could be solved quickly an easily with a calculator? How is this assessment little more than a glorified vocabulary/arithmetic test? How is the test relevant to anything that is supposed to go on in schools? If all the research says we need to teach concepts and critical thinking to students, why does NYS persist in putting out these kinds of assessments year after year? What will the new NYS CCLS look like? Will they further dilute mathematics to a set of unrelated skills?

People should be angered by the message that this assessment sends.

Anonymous said...

I was angered and appalled.

Anonymous said...

Grade 7. Book 2. Question #42. Most correct (?) answer choice (C) seemed to have an error with the variables. If the right choice, definitely would have thrown some kids off the right answer.

Anonymous said...

Heard about a number line/fraction question on day 1 of the 3rd grade math test. It was asking about which fraction represented a certain point. Not sure what answer they were looking for!

Anonymous said...

Day 1 and 2, 3rd grade - my daughter thought it was manageable. Hardest question was the last for her on day 1. She didn't understand the question being asked so she eliminated & guessed.

Anonymous said...

is this an appropriate question for the 7th grade exam?

Three friends own a landscaping business. The number of hours each friend spent on the same project is shown in the table below.

Edgar - 17 1/4
Kelly - 18 1/4
Shawn - 14 1/2

In total, they earned $850 for the job. They put 15% of this amount into a joint savings account for future expenses. They then divided the rest proportionally based on the number of hours each worked. How much money did Shawn receive?

A $209.53
B $240.83
C $283.48
D $295.11

Anonymous said...

my kids are in 3rd and 6th and both said day 1 and day 2 were easy - did not have any problems. My daughter has taken the test every year and received 4's across the board every year. She did say that the last day of the ELA test this year was the hardest by far.

Unitymustgo! said...

Anonymous 10:27 what is the point of your post? Do you think your one daughter is representative of all the 100,000 or so 6th graders from across the state??

To all the parents who write about how their children report it didn’t seem so hard. You are missing the bigger point. For most the issue is not the difficulty of the tests, it’s the destruction to our children’s education and the entire system that the tests represent. Please consider all the time wasted and misplaced effort your children were subjected to leading up to the big event(s). The lost instructional time of the testing days, the lost instructional time of the inevitable practice tests. The lost instructional time (and money) for the preparation materials (study books) your district purchased and the teachers subjected our children to multiple hours a week for multiple weeks. A lot of real authentic instructional time is lost to preparing for these tests. Think of the money flushed away? Millions, upon millions of school funds are redirected away from the arts, sports, after-school programs, trips, special events, facilities up keep, student services, etc… The States are spending tens if not hundreds of millions to fund the testing regime. Your school districts are spending millions to pay for all this testing and for what? To rate teachers?? Really? I’d rather you let our administrators do their jobs and let our kids have art.

Anonymous said...

from 5th grade Parent:
Today I heard was very Hard !!!!! ( 3rd day )
There were 2 Questions
1) Expanded form
2) last Question
Anyone knows these questions or answers /

Even at end of the day, teacher looked at me and said it was Hard !

Anonymous said...

for those that think the test was hard and unfair to your kid, you just hurt your kid by posting hints, answers and helping the kids that will have the make up test next week, good job

Anonymous said...

to unitymostgo;

"To all the parents who write about how their children report it didn’t seem so hard. You are missing the bigger point. For most the issue is not the difficulty of the tests, it’s the destruction to our children’s education and the entire system that the tests represent. Please consider all the time wasted and misplaced effort your children were subjected to leading up to the big event(s). The lost instructional time of the testing days, the lost instructional time of the inevitable practice tests. The lost instructional time (and money) for the preparation materials (study books) your district purchased and the teachers subjected our children to multiple hours a week for multiple weeks. A lot of real authentic instructional time is lost to preparing for these tests. Think of the money flushed away? Millions, upon millions of school funds are redirected away from the arts, sports, after-school programs, trips, special events, facilities up keep, student services, etc… The States are spending tens if not hundreds of millions to fund the testing regime. Your school districts are spending millions to pay for all this testing and for what? To rate teachers?? Really? I’d rather you let our administrators do their jobs and let our kids have art."

thanks for telling us what our short comings are, we do see the BIG picture, as kids get evaluated for their work so must teachers, the Big picture is that the kids get evaluated with their peers and teachers get evaluated with their peers, nothing wrong with that. If the money wasn't used for the evaluation it would be use for some other reason without the parents knowing how their kids are doing. Yes, the tests are hard and they are supposed to be hard, to get a 4 you should be able to read and do math ABOVE LEVEL, so you either socially promote or academically promote and if teachers do not want to be evaluated then they should look for a different type of work. stop complaining, no one is forcing them to be teachers.

Anonymous said...

My 7th grade had an issue with a problem on third day of the math test, said they were given prices for parking and ticket for an event, and they had to figure out how many friends a girl could take if she had $100, but he was confused about how to approach the problem because it never said what kind of car the girl had or how many people could fit in the car, which is pretty important information. Not sure if he's accurately describing the problem.