New York's new integrated algebra test administered in June was so hard that a student could get a "raw score" of 30 points out of a possible 87 and still pass.Wait a minute ... What could be more objective, easier to score, and less subject to "interpretation," than mathematics? If X + 4 = 10, then X=6 . . . Right? Well . . . This is New York, where government jobs are created to substitute for real ones -- where it takes 10 people and 3 politically appointed supervisors to do the work done by one in India (or the NY of 50 years ago).
A student can answer less than half of the questions right and still pass because State Ed uses a "scale score" for the grade, allegedly giving more points for more "difficult" questions.
. . . the Board of Regents says it uses them because it's a more accurate gauge of whether students are meeting standards for understanding a subject...And you thought it was simple! This is complicated stuff - - you will get the bill next April.
...Test questions for Regents exams are devised in committee by some of the state's top teachers and are field tested before they make it to a Regents exam...
After the June test, the state also had to issue a directive clarifying how to score one question for partial credit...
Look, what is going on here is sorting . . . grading students in relation to each other rather than in relation to what they should or should not know. What is "hard" or "easy" or "appropriate" or "challenging" is pretty much in the eye of the beholder - - unless you are the one making the rules. These words describe performance rather than knowledge. That is why scoring directives must be sent -- why teachers are even given special seminars on how to score exams. And when performance is graded, you may be inadvertently grading things like physical, mental or social maturation, interest, outlook, even political perspective. Take a look at the new standards . . . they are quite vague in so far as what a student is expected to KNOW. Knowledge, on the other hand, is easy to score: you either know the material (and get a point) or you don't (and get zero).
So when you read of the "hard" algebra regents and State Ed using a scaled score, ask yourself:
Is State Ed hiding the fact that the students really don't know the material.