September 30, 2007

Are you as smart as a 8th grader?

Take this test and find out.

I got a 100%. Woo hoo. That should tell you how difficult the test is.

The questions come from released items from the California state tests for 7th and 8th grade.

Then read the story in the NC Times.

I like the obligatory educator spin:

In the course of a year, students cover an extensive amount of material and remembering each detail can be difficult on test days, said Tony Ricchuiti, a seventh-grade math teacher at Del Dios Middle School in Escondido.

Ricchuiti added that while the tests mirror the state's standards for each subject, students learn at different paces and in different ways. They also may know the material when they are tested in class, and then misunderstand or overthink a question, just by how it's asked.

"It's always a challenge," Ricchuiti said, adding that offering adults a chance to take the exams themselves might give them a better understanding of what is being asked of kids.

"I think they would see how difficult it is," he said. "It's hard for adults ... and it puts a lot of pressure on us and the kids."

I was not impressed at all by the test questions. The questions certainly weren't rigorous. The math and reading questions were especially easy for a putative eighth grade student. I fail to see why it is so difficult to get students to learn this stuff after nearly nine years of formal education.

What do you think?


Bridget Magnus said...

Got an A. Would probably have done better if I had stopped to calculate a couple of the math problems instead of eliminating answers in my head. I wonder how my 6th grader would do.

Joanne Jacobs said...

I got an A too. I did the math in my head and found it easy, but missed two science questions. We didn't do much physics in junior high and I skipped it in high school. The reading questions were very easy; I found the history questions easy because I know history.

"Humerous" is spelled "humerous" in one of the wrong answers.

Anonymous said...


I do think a couple of these questions would be hard for many adult voters. That's why they want people to try them.

The real scandal is that the students don't need to get them right.

The educrats typically publish a group of questions in the newspaper from the graduation exam and try to draw Joe Voter's attention to a few difficult items.

What they don't mention is students never need to get the hard ones right.

For example, to pass the graduation exam, the required score for passing is less than 75%. And there is no penalty for guessing wrong, like on the SAT.

I'm sure they play the same game with the 8th grade standards test you show in your post.

KDeRosa said...

Some questions are challenging because they rely on isolated facts that adults may have forgotten or don't know. But all in all, the level of analysis needed to solve these questions are fairly low.

the cut score levels that are set on these tests are criminally low. In PA, the cut score is below 70% for proficient and so low that a couple of lucky/educated guesses will get you a score of basic with mostly guessing.

Mr. McNamar said...

Well, KDerosa, you really are smarter than me after all! I only scored an 85. I missed one history question and four of six science questions. But English and Math...perfect. So, I guess I can continue to teach my English classes without feeling bad about myself.

Angel said...

I missed one of the science questions : metals vs non-metals: I knew the conductivity was higher, but I didn't know about the melting point: mercury was the counter example I thought of.
And it took me 13 minutes to take. I didn't rush.
This is an easy test. Everyone should be able to pass.
(Note: spelling error in question 24. "Greece's mountainous and its series of small islands")

Anonymous said...

Okay, I made all 100's until I hit the blasted science. I was hoping it would be like the ACT science where you don't really have to know anything, you just have to use logic or read a chart.

I still made an A overall, barely.

CrypticLife said...

Speaking of tests. . .

I don't know how representative the questions really are.

Anonymous said...

I'm still reeling from trying to figure out just exactly what they mean by "students learn in different ways".

What does that mean? I can never figure it out.

KDeRosa said...

just exactly what they mean by "students learn in different ways"

That's code for we don't know how to teach them properly.

KDeRosa said...

Here's a chance to redeem yourselves. I'm looking at you McNamar.

Take the much more challenging History/Civics test.

I got a 91.6%. (56/60)

Though I'm pretty sure I learned most of this stuff on my own after undergrad.

Vadim said...

Yeah, some questions would be really hard for many adults.

Anonymous said...

Well, I flunked Math: 70%. I didn't understand one of the math notations, it's been so long.

There was a grammatical error in question 35:
'The galaxies pictured above would be best be classified as ' ... be best be ???

What is an 'irrational number' ? Some kind of liberal faction?

Regards, Peter Warner.