Students enter silently. Answer sheets and test booklets are already on their desks. Additional directions are on the board. These directions instruct students to write their name on the test booklet. I need them to do this because I will need to hand score two of the questions on the test. Directions also instruct students to bring their completed tests and bubble sheets to the front of the room. Arrows indicate where to place each sheet.
Additionally, students must place their signed quizzes from last week and their khanacademy.org permission letters in two baskets at the front of the room. I only have 60 minutes per math class and the Unit Tests usually take an hour or more to complete. So I use the boards to instruct students about directions that need to be followed independently to save time. Once a student finishes a unit test they may read independently until the end of class.
The following are two sample questions from the assessment, created by Intel Assess. I chose to include the a question with the lowest percentage of correct answers (#20 – 24%) and a question with the highest percent of correct answers (#10 – 85%).
Part A: Write numbers in the boxes to make the number sentences true. You may choose numbers from –30 to 30, and you must choose at least one negative number for each sentence.
Sentence 1: _____ + _____ – _____ = 7
Sentence 2: _____ × _____ = 18
Sentence 3: _____ ÷ _____ – _____ = –4
Part B: Use the number line to represent your equation for sentence 1 above. Show or explain how to add and subtract the numbers you chose on the number line to get the answer. Be sure to label the number line appropriately.
Most students lost at least one point in this question. Their reasons indicate a misunderstanding of the directions "you must choose at least one negative number for each sentence". The most common mistake was to use only a negative number in one of the sentences. Number lines also posed a problem as students continue to struggle with understanding the depiction of a number sentence on a number line.
A hot air balloon leaves the ground and rises to an elevation of 1,100 feet. During the next 30 minutes, it descends 500 feet, rises 950 feet, descends 375 feet, and finally passes over a school. What is the elevation of the balloon when it passes over the school?
A. 1,025 feet
B. 1,100 feet
C. 1,175 feet
D. 1,550 feet
Students who drew the number lines often were the same students who answered this problem correctly. They were celebrated in class with praise from students and a class prize (a colorful eraser).
Other questions in the exam included:
These questions are highly rigorous in terms of the wording used in each word problem. Students will be using MP1 as they decipher word problems to algorithms and numeric sentences. They will need to be able to interpret the meaning of each operation and also understand what integers, the additive inverse and absolute value represent in real world situations.