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Test sample from FL test in which the higher level example is wrong choice.

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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-18-12 07:39 PM
Original message
Test sample from FL test in which the higher level example is wrong choice.
This is a very very long and thorough article from the Washington Post Answer Sheet. The article is well worth a thorough read.

The article tells how such high stakes standardized tests are affecting public schools. I am only quoting the part about one test item. It is an example of how easily a student who carefully considers all options and is well-prepared and knowledgeable...can get the wrong answer.

How standardized tests are affecting public schools

Which of the following is NOT a factor that makes tracking echidnas with radio transmitters challenging? (Use of NOT is a test-taking skill challenge) (stem)

A. Echidnas spend time in caves. (in passage practically verbatim)

B. Transmitters are difficult to attach. (distractor/enticer: extremely close to correct answer) (in passage practically verbatim)

C. Transmitters are difficult to acquire. (not stated in passage; do we need to comprehend to answer this or just know test taking skills?)

D. Echidnas are built low to the ground. (in passage practically verbatim)

*bolded answer is the correct one (C)


Test items like that are on NCS Pearson's Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test. These tests determine the future of the student, the teacher, and the school.

There is another question listed about the Echidna. It also has an answer correct according to Pearson, and one that is even more correct. As the article points out, students "who utilize higher-level thinking and have a higher-level understanding of mammals may pick" the one which requires such analysis. It would be counted wrong.

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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-19-12 01:11 AM
Response to Original message
1. Another example of a test item in which better answer is wrong.
Heres another example:

According to the article, what is one echidna characteristic that is shared with other mammals?

F. The production of milk (almost verbatim from passage)

G. the size of the neocortex (higher-order logically correct distractor/enticer)

H. the use of spines for climbing (low-level distractor)

I. the use of the beak for rooting (low-level distractor)

*The correct answer is F


The article states that students who utilize higher-level thinking and have a higher-level understanding of mammals may pick G. G is actually a correct answer and arguably more correct, in a higher-level sense than the true answer, F, according to the passage.

Think of the teachers marked as failures, the schools given D or F, for having students with more highly developed thinking. And of course the damage done to the students.

:shrug:

I don't hear national level leaders of any party speaking out against these test developed secretly and without oversight.
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sabrina 1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-19-12 01:21 AM
Response to Reply #1
3. I would not subject students to those tests. Teachers need
to stand up and refuse to abuse their students this way. Until there is nationwide opposition to this 'system' it will not stop. I guess it will happen eventually but in the meantime, so much precious time has been lost and generations of students have been adversely affected by the very institutions that are supposed to be looking out for them.
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sabrina 1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-19-12 01:16 AM
Response to Original message
2. Hi madfloridian.
This makes you wonder if these tests are designed to make students, and I know I'm being cynical now, but if someone on Wall Street isn't betting on their failure, as they did on homeowners and on guessing when people might die.

But aside from that, there is no way any real educator had anything to do with composing these tests. They seem like something a clueless business person would write, someone who knows nothing about education. But hey, lots of money is being made by the Educational Publishers, friends of Bush as some of them are.

And money is God in this country.
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-19-12 02:17 AM
Response to Reply #2
4. Designed for failure. And Pearson has the new contract in FL in 2014..
for all the End of Course tests in each subject. They are not held accountable, though they have caused many problems through the years.

They grade the tests, too, I believe. And it's all proprietary.
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dtexdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-21-12 02:24 PM
Response to Original message
5. Echidna not -- that was on the test?
As interesting as monotremes may be, why would the reason for difficulty in tracking echidnas be considered important enough to be on this test?

I could see the possibility of the other question's being somewhat deserving of being on the test: wanting kids to take away the idea of echidnas' being egg-laying mammals, so milk production being of some concern. But even there, why not just a question about their being egg-laying mammals? Why should the kids be expected to know that acquiring OR attaching transmitters is a difficulty in echidna research?
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