Monday, December 5, 2016

Let Math Test Questions Test MATH!

Print Friendly and PDF Here is a portion of the New York State Grade 5 Mathematics Reference Sheet:
Here is a question from New York State's 2016 Grade 5 Mathematics Test Released Questions:

Thank goodness that New York does not allow for calculators on this test, as the only mathematics being tested is the division of 240 by 4. Everything else is reading comprehension. Careful patient reading, as any student familiar with aquariums (aquaria, if you wish) would know that they size is typically communicated in gallons (at least in the US) and would then question the strangeness of this so called "pet store."

If scores on this test are used to measure (determine?) students' mathematics knowledge and skills, the test should be focused on those skills and that knowledge.

I entered the first sentence of the question into Microsoft Word and let it supply the readability statistics, and it measure the sentence at the Flesh-Kincaid Grade level of 7.6.  I then took the same sentence to https://readability-score.com  and it came back with these:

Please, then, at least accept the possibility that a student's reading abilities might, just might, have a bigger effect on their answering of this question than does their mathematical talents.

By the way, the results on readability for the previous sentence is here:

Does this question belong in a MATH test?

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