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Study Finds National Math Test Easier

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posted on Nov, 21 2004 @ 06:21 PM
Study Finds National Math Test Easier

Thu Nov 18, 7:40 AM ET

Add to My Yahoo! U.S. National - AP

By BEN FELLER, AP Education Writer

WASHINGTON - The national test of student math skills is filled with easy questions, raising doubts about recent gains in achievement tests, a study contends.

On the eighth-grade version of the test, almost 40 percent of the questions address skills taught in first or second grade, according to the report by Tom Loveless, director of the Brown Center on Education Policy at The Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank.

The test for fourth-graders also has "false rigor," Loveless says: More than 40 percent of questions gauge first and second grade skills, two levels below the students tested.

The central fault, Loveless contends, is that too many problem-solving questions rely on whole numbers, with too few challenges involving fractions, decimals and percentages. Such instruction sets students up for trouble in more advanced high school classes and in daily life, where tasks such as shopping and measuring rarely involve neat, round numbers, he said.

"If we want kids to be sophisticated problem solvers, they've got to be able to think beyond whole numbers," Loveless said. "That's just not good enough."

Known as the nation's report card, the National Assessment of Educational Progress is the most widely respected measure of the skill levels of U.S. students. Given to representative samples of students, it is offered periodically in many subjects, including math in 2003.

A leader of the National Assessment Governing Board, which sets the test content, strongly disagreed with the findings, saying the study is flawed because it is based on a questionable formula of what kids should know when.

I am sure that some may not agree, but I think that this is not totally a bad thing. Basic math skills should be known by everyone inside and out. Why should we focus on more advanced math skills which may not be ever used again?

posted on Nov, 21 2004 @ 08:30 PM
It's true. I'm in eighth grade and live in Florida so I have to take the math and reading FCATs (a type of state test) every year. It's not much of a challenge. One sample question might be:

Find the value for x in the following equation: x + 5= 7.

As a result, I do well on the tests, and I'm put into gifted math programs which really aren't too challenging.

[edit on 21-11-2004 by Otto_States]

posted on Nov, 21 2004 @ 08:33 PM

Originally posted by Otto_States
Find the value for x in the following equation: x + 5= 7.

Do you get extra credit if you reply "square root of 4"?

Seriously not challenging the kids is a sure way to doom them.

posted on Nov, 21 2004 @ 08:41 PM
Maybe the test are'nt getting harder, maybe the kids are getting smarter
Actually, I believe this is true, and I believe it is affecting ALL levels of education. I was terrible at math. Just awful at it in Highschool. 13 years after I graduated from Highschool, I started college. I havent made below a B+ in any class Ive taken. My degree is geared taward electronics, so most of my classes are math intensive. Dont get me wrong, I do have to work at it to get it, but only with the Physics related Maths. After having these classes, I am convinced that the math is easier now than it was 13 years ago. I dont know if I understand it better because I gew up, or if it is just that the material is easier material.

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