New York City’s math tests produce fuzzy results, writes Andrew Wolf in the New York Sun. For example, two thirds of last year’s fourth graders were on grade level in math, yet only 38.6 percent tested at grade level as fifth graders. What’s going on?
Wolf offers a story problem: There are 84 questions on the Math A regents exam; the passing grade is 55 percent. How many questions must a student answer correctly to pass?
You say 47? Wrong.
The state education department has decreed that answering just 28 questions correctly earns you a 55 and a passing grade, even though that is only a real score of 33.3% . . .
Sixty of the questions on the test are multiple choice. Merely making random guesses will earn the average student 15 of the 28 correct answers needed to pass. Another 13 right answers and it’s on to Math B. Basically,a student who is able to correctly answer 13 questions, just 15% of the test, and making random guesses on the balance, can pass the test.
Wolf suggests letting an independent board test students and determine the passing grade, taking the job away from the city and state education departments.