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NY State thinks Integrated Algebra is as hard as the AP?

May 3, 2010 pm31 11:30 pm

Teachers out there, hold on to your hats. NY State massively overestimates the level of challenge.

The New York State Education Department favorably compares a passing score on the Integrated Algebra Regents with decent scores on the SAT in math, the IB, and even the AP Calculus exam.

Really?  Really.

When NY moved from the Math A fiasco to Integrated Algebra, they were required to get “Annual Yearly Progress” ok to use substitute exams. And so they are out there, without shame, looking for public comment. They want you and me, but more likely our superintendents, to agree that the following are the equivalent of passing IA (where 40% is well above passing, and the questions don’t rise above algebra I, though they range across many more stand-alone topics).

Alternative Examination Minimum Acceptable Score
Advanced International Certificate of Education AICE Mathematics Examination E
Advanced Placement Calculus AB 3
Advanced Placement Calculus BC 3
International Baccalaureate Mathematics Studies Standard Level 4
International Baccalaureate Mathematics Methods Standard Level 4
International Baccalaureate Mathematics Studies Higher Level 3
International General Certificate of Secondary Education IGCSE A
SAT II Math IC 470
SAT II Math IIC 510

For some students, Integrated Algebra is challenging. Integrated Algebra’s a lousy exam, covers way too much. It is clearly not designed to measure if a student has learned a good chunk of algebra. And it makes a lousy test of whether a kid has enough math for the outside world; it just tests the wrong stuff, and poorly. But it is not the equivalent of a 470 on the SAT II or a 3 on the AP Exam. Sorry. No.

To get approval from the Feds, the State has to open this up for public comment. Here’s the NYSUT announcement. Here’s the pdf of the Request for Comment.

But it sounds like they only want to hear from districts, not teachers. Tough. I think I am writing in. If you want to, the deadline is May 10. Comments go to:

David Abrams, Assistant Commissioner
Office of Standards, Assessment, and Reporting
NYS Education Department
Room 675 EBA
Albany, New York  12234

Fax:  518-473-7737

8 Comments leave one →
  1. May 4, 2010 am31 6:41 am 6:41 am

    I don’t think you’re reading this right. I think they mean if you get these scores on any of these tests, then you don’t have to sit for the IA exam as a graduation requirement, because you obviously would be able to pass the easier IA exam. Like testing out of a required introductory level course in college. It seems like a reasonable way to save time and money, like for a student who moved into NY in tenth grade.

    • May 4, 2010 am31 6:45 am 6:45 am

      We’re reading the same thing. But a kid who manages a 2 on the AP clearly would have passed the IA regents. And how did they arrive at 470 on the SAT II? A far lower score would likely equate with passing the regents.

      They set the marks for testing out way too high.

  2. DavidC permalink
    May 4, 2010 pm31 1:52 pm 1:52 pm

    It’s been awhile since I was in high school or dealth with high schoolers, but… are you sure that one doesn’t have a decent chance at a 2 by picking random answers?

    Also: It doesn’t seem too wrong to err on the high side for this kind of purpose.

  3. May 4, 2010 pm31 8:31 pm 8:31 pm

    I teach both AP calculus and Integrated Algebra and believe me when I tell you there is absolutely no comparison of these exams. There is no way a kid can get a 3 unless he knows his stuff. And, he can’t just memorize. He has to analyze a problem and be able to use his knowledge to arrive at answers, often to questions never seen before. I’ve taugth algebra kids how to pass the regents by going backwards from the choices. There is no way to do that on calculus. Besides, the exam is also 50% free response with lots of reading and writing required.

  4. May 4, 2010 pm31 10:38 pm 10:38 pm

    I just don’t see what you guys are getting all worked up about. They know the IA is a crap test that measures nothing worth measuring, and they obviously don’t care, but they have to have their fake minimum-bar graduation requirement in place to keep the Feds off their backs. I don’t think the intention is to say the scores are an equivalent achievement since the tests are so very different. I have no problem with this as a “Clearly the IA regents would pose no difficulty for you, so we aren’t going to make you waste a couple hours taking it.” They have to set a threshold somewhere. What do you want them to allow? A 1 on the AP? A 200 on the SAT? Don’t you get 200 points for spelling your name right?

  5. May 4, 2010 pm31 11:31 pm 11:31 pm

    I think a kid sitting for the AP shouldn’t be bothered with the IA. And SAT II? The distribution, ISTR, goes a little wacky south of 400, but something in the 300s should do it.

    Are there exemption scores for Geometry and Trig? I’d like every district across the State to have reasonable alternatives to these awful exams.

  6. May 17, 2010 am31 1:40 am 1:40 am

    wish i read this earlier..


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