Monday, January 30, 2017

New York has to make better tests!

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The above is the first section of a question from the January 2017 New York State regents exam in Algebra II (Common Core).

I believe the question needs the word "tsunami" rather than "tidal".  The presence of the word "tidal" in this context illustrates the need for improved "proofreading" in the creation of these exams.

Continuing on, here is question 24 from the New York State Geometry (Common Core) regents exam:
I suspect that the word "cone" here should read "inverted cone". When used by itself, the word "cone" refers to this:
Rarely have I seen a water cup used "point up". Let me correct myself: I have never seen a cup used that way.  Should a student solve the question as written, they could be perfectly correct and get an answer not listed. That situation should be avoided at all costs on a state exam.

Let's look at question 8 from the January 2017 NY regents exam in Algebra I (Common Core):

I found this question misleading, since the USPS charges 49 cents for up to 1 ounce and 21 cents for each extra ounce or fraction of an ounce. The best mathematical model would be 
\({\rm{Cost}} = 49 + 21(w - 1)\)
where w is the weight of the letter in ounces and the costs are measured in cents.

I suspect the question writer was trying to come up with a "real world' application of recursive functions. My advice would be to look again. Question 20 on this test would have made a much better model, as postage must take into account portions of an ounce but mp3 sales would not.

Now comes question 14 from the same Algebra I exam;
The mathematics in this question is basically asking "Which of the following is equal to 6(16)t ?" The rest of the verbiage is due to the attempt to make the problem "real world".
Can't we just ask math questions to test math knowledge? 

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