Mathematics High School Assessment Field Tests: What We Are Learning 2000-2001

Good News

• More students responded to the Student Produced Response (SPR), BCR, and ECR items. The quality of their responses improved.

• The mathematics assessments have been shortened. There is the same total time for the tests but there are fewer items.

The following is a list of observations that may help in preparing students for the mathematics high school assessment. This list was created as a result of scoring student responses to the ECR and BCR items on the January and May mathematics HSA field tests.

• Students need more experience with real world contexts.
• Students need to read and answer all parts of the problem.
• Students need to check all units in the problem and make conversions when necessary. They must label the answer to the problem with the appropriate unit.
• Students must make sure their answer makes sense in the context of the problem. (i.e. 3 buses rather than 2.5 buses)

• Students need more instruction on and experience with explaining and justifying their work.
• Use mathematics to justify your answer does not necessarily mean using numbers to justify the work. Principles of mathematics may be appropriate. (i.e. The student may justify which measure of central tendency best represents the data by using what they know about how extremes in data affect measures of central tendency .)
• Explanation means more than "I looked at the graph." or "I used my calculator."
• Explanations may need to be supported with numbers. (i.e. I found the area of the cone, which is 12 square inches, and added the area of the circle, which is 6 square inches, to get a total area of 18 square inches.)

• Students must be able to round numbers correctly and appropriately for the problem. All rounding should be done at the end of the last step of the problem.

Geometry

• Items with "Note: The figure is not drawn to scale." may not be solved by measuring.

• Students need more practice naming angles and line segments.

• Students need a complete understanding of the properties of geometric figures. (i.e. Determine if a figure is a rhombus.)

• Students need more experience using measurement tools correctly.

• CLG 2.1.3 The student will use transformations to move figures, create designs, and/or demonstrate geometric properties.
• Students need to be instructed that when a transformation is asked for, the response must specify distance and direction for translations, line of reflection for reflections, and point of rotation, degree and direction for rotations.
• Students need more experience with transformations especially dilations and rotations.

• CLG 2.1.4 The student will construct and/or draw and/or validate properties of geometric figures using technology and tools.
• There is confusion between construction and drawing.
• Construction: Classical geometric constructions use only a compass and straight edge as tools. For the high school assessment students may also use patty paper, miras, or mirrors.
• Drawing: For items that ask the student to draw a geometric figure, students may use a compass, ruler, patty paper, mira, mirror, and/or protractor. Measurement can be part of their strategy.

• CLG 2.2.1 The student will identify and/or verify congruent and similar figures and/or apply equality or proportionality of their corresponding parts.
• Students need to understand the difference between congruence and similarity.
• Students need more experiences with proofs, including proving two triangles are similar.
• Students need more experiences using similarity as justification.

Update

Use of Pi: The calculator pi-key was used to calculate the answer choices for the selected response items. If students use 3.14 or 22/7 their answer will be very close to the pi-key correct answer. No distractor is so close to the correct response that using 3.14 or 22/7 would lead a student to choose the incorrect response.

For the student produced (grid-in) and constructed response items, the use of any correct version of pi will be accepted.