My speech teacher came to see me. She was both angry and distraught. In her hand was her 6-year-old’s math test. On the top of it was written, “Topic 2, 45%”. On the bottom, were the words, “Copyright @ Pearson Education.” After I got over my horror that a first-grader would take a multiple-choice test with a percent-based grade, I started to look at the questions.
The test provides insight into why New York State parents are up in arms about testing and the Common Core. With mom’s permission, I posted the test here. Take a look at question No. 1, which shows students five pennies, under which it says “part I know,” and then a full coffee cup labeled with a “6″ and, under it, the word, “Whole.” Students are asked to find “the missing part” from a list of four numbers. My assistant principal for mathematics was not sure what the question was asking. How could pennies be a part of a cup?
Then there is Question No. 12. Would (or should) a 6 year old understand the question, “Which is a related subtraction sentence?” My nephew’s wife, who teaches Calculus, was stumped by that one. Finally, think about the level of sophistication required to answer the multiple-choice question in No. 8 which asks students to “Circle the number sentence that is true” from a list of four.