New York students can pass the Math A Regents exam by answering 31 percent of questions; 40 percent earns an “honors” pass.
The exam, the simpler of two math tests and a requirement for graduation, is comprised of 30 multiple-choice questions worth 2 points each and nine computation questions worth up to 4 points.
Answering just 13 of the multiple-choice questions right Ñ each question provides four possible answers Ñ guarantees a passing grade.
“It is unreasonable that a student who gets the minimum passing score has achieved only slightly better results than a student who guesses,” said Stanley Ocken, a math professor at City College of New York and a critic of the grading system.
In 2003, two-thirds of students failed the exam, so the passing score was adjusted.