Friday, September 4, 2015

Math problems of the week: 5th grade Common Core-inspired test question vs. Singapore Math

I. A sample end-of-5th grade test question from Pennsylvania's revised PSSA tests.

II. From the Singapore Math 5B (second half of 5th grade) placement test:

III. Extra Credit 

The most relevant part of Common Core-inspired goals indexed at the top of the PSSA problem (goals B- and B-  is: "interpret numerical expressions without evaluating them."

Discuss the comparative difficulty of this task as compared with the modeling challenge presented by the Singapore Math problem.

Which of these problems exhibits traces of the confusion between teaching math skills vs. teaching math education skills?


Auntie Ann said...

I wonder if some of this is driven by the insistence on computerized testing, instead of paper and pencil. It's easy to *do* problems in a paper and pencil format, but on a computer screen, you have to find ways around actually having to do calculations.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Auntie Ann. Over and over in these posted examples of computerized questions it is the technology (and the limitations there of) that are determining the form of the question. Rather then saying 'hey kids need to work out answers so we need to hold off on this until we have full developed stylus technology that can be incorporated into a test'. Mind boggling to me that they are going to roll out computerized tests which will clearly have the biggest impact on kids who rarely use computers. Not to mention the inevitable headaches when the technology fails mid-test.