Wednesday, July 5, 2017

NYS Regents Algebra 1 Questions 18 and 19

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The above question bothers me.  The statement of the problem makes no claim about any domain, and the answer key's choice of (2) actually requires that the problem be interpreted by the student as a question regarding a recursive sequence. This question appears to result from a mashup of two different issues: recursive sequences on the one hand, and definition of function on the other.

Obtaining the answer that is deemed "correct" requires that the student assume that every result from the formula (normally associated with the concept of "range") can then be used as an input into the formula (normally associated with the concept of "domain"). 

Although the topics of recursive sequences and function definitions are both legitimate for first year algebra, this question still does not belong.

Here is question 19:
This question can be answered by simple substitution and calculation. A student need show no skill regarding solving linear equations to answer it correctly. 

Compare that question to this from Ninth Year Mathematics from 1969 (the one I took)
(The [5,1] indicates 5 points for solving and 1 for checking. ) Admittedly, this question was 1 of 7 ten pointers out of which the student had to answer 4. To see what the choices were, check out the exam here

For that matter, compare June 1969 with June 2017 and then tell me that our standards have really been raised. (Keep in mind that hand held calculators of any kind did not exist back then.)

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