Flutterby™! : Standardized Testing Fail

Next unread comment / Catchup all unread comments User Account Info | Logout | XML/Pilot/etc versions | Long version (with comments) | Weblog archives | Site Map | | Browse Topics

Standardized Testing Fail

2012-04-17 16:57:41.413316+00 by Dan Lyke 1 comments

You know that problem where the test presupposes some level of ignorance. We've all had this problem, the high school physics tests which asks "why do AM signals travel further than FM signals", a question predicated on frequency, not signalling mechanism, and knowing of applications which use AM and FM signalling on the same band means you're likely to give an answer the teacher wasn't looking for.

(And, yes, I respect my high school physics teachers, but Mr. Chesto should have been smarter than to ask this question in this way... In his defense, he did back down quickly when challenged.)

Education is full of this sort of thing, I know that Charlene's recent college classes have had me tearing my hair out with "the teacher wants this answer, but here are cites which support this answer being more correct".

Turns out that Florida's Science FCAT test is institutionalizing this sort of idiocy and penalizing schools for having smart students.

So according to the Test Development Center, it appears that it is acceptable to use scientifically correct answers for wrong responses on the Science FCAT as long as FLDOE does not expect a fifth grader to be educated enough to realize that the wrong answers are scientifically correct.

Via /..

[ related topics: Children and growing up Weblogs Education hubris ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2012-04-17 18:10:43.449146+00 by: ebradway

That's pretty funny. One of the "tricks" I used to teach in GRE prep was evaluating the "correctness" of the answers independent of the question. An answer that is invalid (or has certain traits, like bias towards a specific group), independent of the question, can be eliminated as a possible right answer.

Another "trick" is to evaluate answers as "partially correct" relative to the question. If you have eliminated all but two answers and one you know is only partially correct but the other you really have no clue, you should always choose the unknown. It's the "Let's Make a deal" rule for standardized tests.

What the Florida Test Development Center is really saying is that it cannot afford to create decent questions. I guesstimate that ETS spends at least $10,000 to develop each question on the GRE. Producing a good standardized test is very expensive. With current educational budgets, I can see where corners would be cut.