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Integrated Algebra: how will the scores be?

January 30, 2009 pm31 5:42 pm

This may be a case of “mediocre” being a step up. Or will it be a test that is too hard, even with a pass point around 35%?

Yesterday afternoon NY State high schoolers took the third Integrated Algebra regents exam. The exam replaces the widely ridiculed “Math A” which now has quietly faded into retirement.

But today, across New York State, math teachers are grading thousands and thousands of Integrated Algebra exams. The scale is at the bottom of this post, but also all the scales can be found on this NYSED page. It is a strange scale, with 31 out of 87 points passing (65), but 68 out of 87 being an 85. This reflects New York State’s failure: they cannot successfully build a high school exit exam that also successfully measures achievement in an oddball hybridy course (that contains many skills that should be irrelevant to graduation).

I need to be a little careful. I had a very small, specially selected group of students take this exam, with the aim of getting very high scores. They are mathematically strong freshmen, taking a hard Algebra 1. All of them did some of these topics in middle school (though not quite as hard as what they do with me). And we ran a couple of quick sessions to patch up the State’s weird vocabulary and the odd topics that I don’t teach.  I asked them to finish the test, take a break, and then redo most of the test, covering up their previous answers. And most of them did, showing, I thought, good self-discipline, staying over two hours.

In other words, this is not in any way a typical group. My initial reaction to the questions has more to do with how my dozen were likely to respond than with the interests of the students across the state. I’ll wait to hear more before I weigh in on individual questions.

(Scale is below the fold) –>

Chart for Converting Total Test Raw Scores to
Final Examination Scores (Scale Scores)

Raw

Score

Scale

Score

Raw

Score

Scale

Score

Raw

Score

Scale

Score

Raw

Score

Scale

Score

87

100

65

84

43

75

21

52

86

99

64

84

42

74

20

51

85

98

63

83

41

74

19

49

84

97

62

83

40

73

18

48

83

96

61

82

39

72

17

46

82

95

60

82

38

71

16

44

81

94

59

82

37

71

15

42

80

93

58

81

36

70

14

40

79

92

57

81

35

69

13

38

78

91

56

81

34

68

12

36

77

90

55

80

33

67

11

34

76

90

54

80

32

66

10

31

75

89

53

80

31

65

9

29

74

88

52

79

30

64

8

26

73

88

51

79

29

63

7

23

72

87

50

78

28

62

6

21

71

87

49

78

27

60

5

18

70

86

48

77

26

59

4

14

69

86

47

77

25

58

3

11

68

85

46

77

24

57

2

8

67

84

45

76

23

55

1

4

66

84

44

75

22

54

0

0

To determine the student’s final examination score, find the student’s total test raw score in the column labeled “Raw Score”

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