Wednesday, September 26, 2007

NCLB Assessment Quality

The following problem is a released test item for fifth grade students, assessing their fourth grade achievement. It is from the New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP) Student Practice Test Booklet for Grade 5 Mathematics. Can you find the problem that I have with it? I used this problem with my fifth grade class today for their review. Testing begins next week. What are the standards for testing validity for high stakes tests?

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  1. Could it be that when triangle equals zero, the statement is false?

  2. Hi, pann. I had not even considered that possibility. I had several students give D as the answer because, they reasoned, 8÷1=8. That would make the triangle equal 1 and the square equal to 8. However, the defining equation would then be 8*8=1.

    This contradiction makes D the wrong answer. We spent a lot of time discussing the importance of the first equation and how they have to read carefully, using the given information. So my objection to the question is its readability.

    But you have raised another problem with the question that interests me. Zero was not excluded from consideration. Does this invalidate the question?

    I am looking forward to other ideas about this.

  3. I loved all your math questions and games today as I was catching up on your blog. I read many to my family.
    The following is a quote from my Husband after he finished the quiz and he answered the first equation to be right. Then I read him the difficulties you were having with the standardized exam question:

    "While most standardized questions assume that neither are 0 or 1, but they do not allow that to always be common knowledge so then I would have to say that the New England Common Assessment Program has proven itself to Not be smarter than a 5th grader."



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