Vito Prosciutto: Teaching community college math on the road to a PhD.

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

The problem with testing 

The New York Times (free registration required) talks about some revisions in the Math A Regents exam in New York City. I've been a bit interested in some of this myself as I've been looking at standards for math while putting together lesson plans. There's a whole category in my state (statistics) which isn't neatly addressed by the standard Algebra-Geometry-Precalc-Calculus college prep sequence. The ACT exam similarly covers this material which isn't addressed in the standard curriculum. I agree that this is important material, but it seems like the curriculum and the standards are far from being aligned, even though the standards I'm looking at have been in place for nearly a decade. I may be wrong, but I suspect that the curricular materials don't adequately address the statistical knowledge listed in the state standards or the ACT exam.

The Times article is a bit sparse on the details, but it seems to me that the problem here is similar to what I'm seeing with statistics here: The curriculum and the standards are still not adequately aligned. I fear that what might be happening in New York is that they've decided to adjust the standards to match the curriculum rather than looking at both and adjusting the curriculum if necessary.

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