Exit exam is easy, but

Exit exam is easy, but why the errors?
Los Angeles Times columnist Patt Morrison aced the state graduation exam, even the math. Students who can’t get a minimum score are horribly undereducated, she writes. It’s not racist to let them know they need to improve while they’re still in school.

Better to find out at 16 that you need to work on your basic math or reading, than to wake up at 40 and realize that you’re getting taken to the cleaners by your credit card interest rate, or that you still having trouble reading TV Guide.

Actually, I think young people find out in their 20s when they’re stuck on the remedial track in college and turned down for any job that requires filling out a form. In San Jose, most would-be apprentices are turned away by the Building Trades Council because they lack math skills; some also can’t read well enough to learn a skilled trade.

Morrison also found errors in the sample test.

Yes, I missed one in the language part, but I also found some mistakes, like these: “Music from summer jazz festivals drift over the communities” — it’s drifts, not drift. The music drifts, not the festivals. “Every day” was one word when it should have been two. And a misplaced modifier: “As a volunteer pet-aid, we ask you . . . “

Perhaps all those kids who can’t pass the graduation exam can get jobs writing test questions for the Department of Education.

I don’t know what test Morrison took, but this site links to sample questions, and points out that most of the questions on the math exam cover knowledge that’s supposed to be taught in seventh grade. It’s possible to pass with the minimal 55 percent score without answering any algebra questions.

I did the first 25 questions in my head and got all of them right; only the ones with exponents required more than a few seconds. It’s been 30 years since my last math class, but the kids I tutor always seem to need help with algebra, so I’ve had some refresher training. On the other hand, I spend a lot of time asking other tutors for help; yesterday I got Nancy, a ninth grader who really knows her stuff, to explain factoring and graphing a quadratic equations. I don’t know if the student I was tutoring understood, but I’m getting the hang of it.

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