Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Waiting Game


They are entering the building for another exam when they spot me. They rush over, not to say hello but to find out how they did on the geometry regents. They are concerned. They feel confident. They all walked out of last year's algebra exam feeling lost, yet they all passed and passed with decent grades. This year they were able to answer so much more. There is no way could be failing.

I wish I could have given them a positive response. While I know the raw scores, and there are guesses as to what will be passing, I cannot give most of them any reassurances at the moment. Quite a few scored in the high 50's and low 60's. They will pass, although I don't know with what grade. The 40's are more difficult to call. And, I don't want to say anything to the 30's until I know for sure. I did give bad news to one of my 20's, but I broke it to her easy, told her she passed the course and she promised to let me help her retake the exam in January.

This waiting is silly and makes no sense. Merryl Tisch, the new Chancellor of the Board of Regents wants higher standards. She talking about raising the passing grade from 65 to 75 to make the grades more meaningful. What she should be talking about is making the exams more valid. Here we gave an exam, graded the exam but will only determine its success or failure after the state scrutinizes the papers and determines exactly the grade that makes this new project a success.

All year, the kids take exams worth 100 points and know that if they get a 65 or better, they passed. The biggest exam of the year has a totally different scoring system. These poor kids will not know their regents results until Friday, the last day of school. It's not right.

6 comments:

17 (really 15) more years said...

I just saw the conversion chart for the integrated algebra - 30 out of 87 credits is a 65???? Is this how we've raised the standards??

You never know- maybe a 20 will be passing after all.....

Chaz said...

Let's see, passing is what the State makes it after reviewing the grades. What is wrong with this?

mathman42 said...

Thre is some logic to examining results on the first test before scaling. Nevertheless, an absurd scale like Integrated Algebra ( 30 ) on a test that was somewhat easier than the previous ones causes more problems down the line. Most of my geometry students scored between 65 - 70 on Int Alg and were not prepared for the level of work that the State suggested. Of course this geometry Regents was fair but not particularly difficult so hopefully the passing grade will reflect enough knowledge for success in next years class. I doubt if many who scored under 55 could handle that work.

jd2718 said...

Did you see #34 on the Algebra exam? That trapezoid is too small to fit in the circle. It's not the first circle they've gotten completely wrong
Jonathan

mathman42 said...

It sure looks like it's inside the circle unless you're concerned that it's not to scale. Part IIIs were fairly difficult. Part IVs were much easier. Why couldn't they insert the word " different " in question 31 ?

Pissed Off said...

I'm embarrassed to say that I haven't even looked at that exam yet. I tutored math B the day it was marked.