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03/27/2008 06:53 PM ID: 69610 Permalink   

Huge Percentage of Students Fail Math Test


LAS VEGAS, NV. - An overwhelming number of students failed their end of semester exams in the Clark County School District. Across all schools, 90.5% failed Algebra 1, 86.6% failed Algebra 2 and 87.8% failed Geometry. A passing score is above 59%.

These exams were supposed to count for up to 20% of the semester grade for the students. Trent Day, principal at Centennial, says that the test "is not valid" stating that he was hearing that different teachers administered the tests differently.

Officials say 50 multiple choice questions are too much for students in 120 minutes. An official said that students arent being taught material due to teachers spending too much time on basics with students that were pushed through previous grades.

    WebReporter: topical_at_hand Show Calling Card      
ASSESS this news: BLOCK this news. Reason:
  Much more at source  
It's basically everybody pointing fingers at somebody else. Students saying the test was too hard. Teachers saying the test means nothing to them and that they weren't going to administer it. Principals making excuses for their schools.

There were also some sample questions in the source. I found them to be pretty easy, standard algebra/geometry questions and based on those 5 questions I would have finished the test in about 60 minutes.

Ahhh, I'll just let you guys mock the school district, I'm probably biased. Not being schooled here and seeing the awful state in which the district is in.

Here are the official statistics for all the schools.

And the sample questions with answers.

What is the value of w in the equation 82 = 9w +10?
A. 2
B. 8
C. 63
D. 101

Amelia ran a total of 60 miles in the first three months of her new running program. She ran equal distances in the first and second months, but ran twice that distance in the third month. How far did she run in the third month?
A. 15 miles
B. 20 miles
C. 30 miles
D. 40 miles

Which of the following equations is equivalent to 2(5m+4) = 7m - m ?
A. 10m + 4 = 6m
B. 10m + 8 = 6m
C. 10m + 4 = 7
D. 10m + 8 = 7

What statement is true about all right triangles?
A. A right triangle has 3 equal sides.
B. A right triangle has 3 obtuse angles.
C. A right triangle has no parallel sides.
D. A right triangle has 2 pairs of parallel sides.

Given two lines that intersect, which of the descriptions MUST be true?
A. The two lines are coplanar.
B. The two lines are coincident.
C. The two lines are concurrent.
D. The two lines are corresponding.

B, C, B, C, A
  by: topical_at_hand     03/27/2008 07:01 PM     
  if thats an honest sample....  
if thats an honest sample then education in that district is terrible, unless there is some other factor that caused students to fail. and the time span is to long each of those question took me under 30 seconds to solve. even allowing a minute each thats only 50 minutes. and being multipule choice thats no excuse becasue a minite to go and you just randomly pick anything you haven't had time to complete.
  by: veya_victaous     03/27/2008 07:26 PM     
  piece of piss!!  
OMFG, how easy is that!!!!!

And multi choice questions?!?!?! They have multiple choice questions and they are complaining?!?! Damn i wish i had multi choice?!

and LMFAO @ "Officials say 50 multiple choice questions are too much for students in 120 minutes."

hahahah 2 mins for a multi choice question!!!!! to much?!?1 to hard?!?!?! hahahahhahaha bunch of dumbasses!!!!
  by: M4CRO_   03/27/2008 07:28 PM     
  Interesting story  
While I (being the math idiot) have made no attempt to solve those problems - they do seem pretty standard. Everything about this struck me as odd. The number of failures, the excuses, etc. But this might just be the prime example of the problem with our schools today. Teacher sare teaching to pass standardized tests - change the standardized test and see what happens? The students are not learning.

This also brings another thought to mind. How many parents (due to kids extreme homework load, or just out of coddling) do their kids homework for them? I know of a few parents that do this simply because if they don't do it, it won't get done (their words, not mine). My opinion. Tough. If the kid doesn't do the home work, let them learn about real life and fail. I (hope) that I have enough of a brain and mind to not to my kids homework for them. On the flip side - if they are seriously doing homework from teh second they get home until midnight and it's not because they don't get it - I have no idea what I'd do since I don't know what the teachers are like and how much school has changed (do they get a syllabus of homework that will be due?) since I went.
  by: NoTalentAssclown     03/27/2008 07:29 PM     
They can give easy tests, but they can't force students to care about them.
  by: H. W. Hutchins   03/27/2008 07:44 PM     
  Has anyone here read Atlas Shrugged?  
I can't help but notice how similar our governments are becoming to Rand's scenario.
  by: luc1ddr3am     03/27/2008 08:17 PM     
  Good Lord.  
I can understand failing Trigonometry and Calculus, but Geometry and Algebra are piss-easy.
  by: Kolman   03/27/2008 08:51 PM     
  damm you luc1ddr3am  
anytime someone suggests a book i havent read i usually wind up reading it. of course, you have to suggest this.

According to wiki: "Also, at approximately 645,000 words, Atlas Shrugged is one of the longest novels ever written in any European language."

I'll let you know what I think... 1200 pages later... :D
  by: topical_at_hand     03/27/2008 09:25 PM     
If you are going to read it I'll make one point. Rand's views are generally a tad bit extreme and not all principals of her philosophy should be taken verbatim.

With that in mind I'll reference the segment that applies for those that havent read it yet.

The section I'm speaking of is about the stifling government actions against its citizens, and our companies, schools ect.. freedoms of production. Laws inhibiting the development and the natural processes in which people better the things around them were enacted. These laws were disastrous.

In accordance with the law, trained professionals were forced with the threat of jail to do that which they knew was unwise and even dangerous, as opposed to that which was wise but now unlawful.

This relates to our article in that only when something disatrous happens does attention come to the devasting effects that some government intervention causes. In the novel these events resulted in the shuffling and juggling of 'fault' to the workers, but never the law that resulted in the action for fear of being unpatriotic. Speaking against these laws were speaking against the best interests of those at power in Washington, and the better interests of the country.

I did my best to summarize my interpretation of a primary theme of the book... and don't worry i didn't spoil anything for you.
  by: Luc1dDr3am     03/27/2008 10:17 PM     
Naive ideals resulting in naive laws are influencing the natural force of improvement. By aspiring only to comply with an insufficient government act such as "No student Left Behind" our schools and teachers have stopped trying to improve their curriculum based on collective professional insight and experience. Instead a limited pool of opinions are forcing changes and setting standards which they believe will catalyze improvement.

Compare private schools to public schools.. tell me who's doing better.
  by: Luc1dDr3am     03/27/2008 10:23 PM     
  how old  
how old are the students. It doesn't say in the source and it seems to be implied knowledge for americans.
  by: jendres     03/27/2008 10:26 PM     
Then when they get to college they freak out because they have a test like I did for a Biology for Majors that is 100 questions, all fill in the blank, and you have roughly 2 hours.

Welcome to the real world.
  by: Rislone   03/27/2008 10:39 PM     
  Maybe most of the students knew  
that they were not going to be egg-headed geek scientists and that never again in their lives would they have to look at algebra and geometry.
  by: John E Angel     03/27/2008 10:42 PM     
That's not the real world (not even close) unless your job is to try out exams.
  by: bane39   03/27/2008 11:07 PM     
i NEVER...NEVER had 120 minutes to complete 50 questions. We ALWAYS had roughly 1 minute an 15 seconds to complete each questions. Thats a little over an hour, and still the average student would finish with 15-20 minutes ahead of time on a test that ranged from simple math, algebra, and geometry. so, reading just blowing my mind. its really quite sad..if its real. when i was in highschool, they wanted to make our exams worth 40% of our final grade, but the state wouldnt allow it. we had to do a senior project however. after they couldnt raise the exams, they decided to make the senior project/essay paper worth 40% of our final know what happened? most of the kids didnt do it. you wanna know what happened? they changed the rule, gave the kids 3 weeks to complete the project, and if they failed it then, it still didnt effect the final grade too much. so maybe these kids are doing the same.. cuz in essance, a kid can bust their ass and work real hard..but be a bad test taker, fail the exam, which in return fails them for the semester.. it may sound stupid, but when i was in school, this is how the students protested when their voices were ignored.
  by: anonymousdude   03/28/2008 02:11 AM     
  I didn't do bery well  
in math but I can tell those are pretty easy/standard questions. 90% failure rate seems like an achievement. I think if they try hard enough they could raise it. :P
  by: JayWar   03/28/2008 04:21 AM     
  something is fishy here  
First off, I will be the first to admit math was never my strong suit, never really that I didn't get it, just took me longer to solve. But even then, I might have been sweating the last 10 questions or Christmas tree skipped questions, but always passed. I didn't fail at math until I took quantum statistics in college (though it was much easier the second time lol!)

Looking at the sample questions, this is suppose to be for high school students according to the source, this is material I remember going over in middle school, 7th and 8th grade. My guess (as mentioned) is a bunch of students got pushed through to high school (ie, not our problem if they don't pass test in high school) and either were to slow at what was going on at that point to catch up, or were never taught materials that would be on the test. There is also another possibility, that the testing machines were wrong and feed the wrong answer sheet, wonder if that was looked into, I know it happens more often then you would think. At any rate, its still not a good situation for the LV school system.
  by: brianwcu     03/28/2008 04:24 AM     
  Multiple Choice?  
Erm, what? I once heard a comedian joke that American school exams were multiple choice but I didn't think he was serious. Is this strange to anyone else or are multiple choice maths exams the norm out there? How on earth is this the best way to educate kids?
  by: barryriley   03/28/2008 09:14 AM     
welcome to america, barry. the public school system is a sham.. i graduated, but i pretty much quit going in the 10th grade. i learned more on my own, doing my own reading, research, and gaining experiance in my last years of highschool than i did IN school. and multiple choice is pretty normal i'd say. the way our exams were set up...we'd have a section of multiple choice without the use of calculators..then there was usually a section where we could use calculators, as long as we wrote out the process of how to figure out the answer. both sections timed. lets hope the no child left behind act saves these kids.
  by: anonymousdude   03/28/2008 09:42 AM     
  I've done plenty multiple choice exams  
but I don't ever recall doing a maths test that was multiple choice!

Some of our university exams were actually multiple choice, but they were really hard questions with really similar answers. You got 2 points for a correct answer and -1 for an incorrect answer, so guessing really wasn't a good idea, you'd be better off not answering a question than making a blind guess.

These were mixed in with long written exams though, I tell you, writing Java code by hand is no fun, I mean, anyone who writes computer code knows that you are constantly adding and changing chunks of code, you never start from the top, work your way to the bottom and never change anything on the way! Always thought written programming exams were a bit weird in that respect!

But yeah, how old are these kids who failed this exam? Those sample questions were ridiculously easy, they should try doing the 3 GCSE maths exams we had to do! (they weren't hard, but they were a lot more difficult than those sample questions!)
  by: TabbyCool     03/28/2008 11:00 AM     
  87.8% failed Geometry  
Wow - That's nearly half !
  by: WWarrior     03/28/2008 12:32 PM     
  by: calilac     03/28/2008 04:44 PM     
High school is usually ages 15 - 18. The individual classes you take are based on your skill level (HA!). So an advanced first year student might be taking the same Algebra 2 class as a slow final year student.

I read on the "No Child Left Behind" act wiki page that multiple choice is the most popular for these exams because they are the cheapest. But imagine doing algebra where you have 4 possible answers in front of you. Even if you can't properly dissect the equation, you can still plug in all 4 answers and see what matches!

But what will happen is they will go back, make up some excuses why this happened and then change the test to something easier so everyone can pass. Even though most of these kids actually can't do the math and are too caught up in Myspace and Youtube to care about academia.

I remember they were even doing this before state exams. I was in advanced algebra/trig in HS and because the teacher was also the coach of the football team all the jocks took the class. After one test approximately 80% of the class failed, the teacher changed his mind and decided that a new test would be given, a much easier test, and then everybody passed. Because everyone knows you can't play on the team if you fail a class.
  by: topical_at_hand     03/28/2008 04:52 PM     
  @ topical  
hahaha! are those questions really from that test. 60 minutes, c'mon dude! you and I both know that we could finish that test in 30 minutes. I don't even need a calculator for that shit!!!! I think if kids stopped listening to emo, maybe this wouldn't be a problem. I always loved math. I always listened to Metallica and Meshuggah (complex rythms, etc...) maybe that's why I loved math?! *shrugs*. Those students should be ashamed, my cat can do those problems, and she doesn't even have to count her toes.
  by: meshuggahfan   03/28/2008 05:22 PM     
  I forgot my math  
LOL I forgot how to do math. LOL. I had to relook at those problems.

Goes to show how useless math is to everday life, well certain kinds of math.

Adding, subtracting, etc. I'm trying to remember the last time I used algebra.

Isn't standardized testing wonderful. Instead of really teaching kids to use math in everyday lives it rushes them through to be able to cram stuff and then forget it later, not actually learning.

Oh by the way I was a master in math in high school. Tested in the top 2% in the country. Finished my test before everyone else except for one guy who was my competition. Our goal was always to race to see who can finish first. LOL. This was the entire school testing at the same time.

I loved when tests counted 20% of your grade or more. Made me do less homework.

And I didn't believe in homework and went through school not doing homework once.

I slacked off and still passed. What is wrong with these kids these days? Are they that dumb?
  by: shawn1flog   03/28/2008 05:45 PM     
In Australia we have Multipule choice questions but normally it would be a 2-3 hour test and contain 50-100 multipule choice, 10-30 short answer and 3-10 long answer questions.

thats what most of the big standardised tests are like here (in maths anyway)
  by: veya_victaous     03/28/2008 07:08 PM     
So in Aus, is that just for maths tests, or was it for other subjects, like English or spelling ?
  by: WWarrior     03/28/2008 07:17 PM     
Over 90% failed Algebra?! That's almost half!
  by: BeyondtheTech     03/28/2008 07:36 PM     
...that was funny the first time.
  by: H. W. Hutchins   03/29/2008 01:26 AM     
  young people  
its the music and food there making them dumber and wanting to cop out of the adult skills.somebody likes people that way so enjoy a whole generation of dumb people.waste the youth waste our world....
  by: flukemol   03/29/2008 05:06 PM     
It seems that every generation says that exact same thing about children and has been for decades.
  by: John E Angel     03/30/2008 06:21 AM     
  If this was an NCLB mandated test  
chances are the students were drilled on a very narrow line of equations. When other things appeared on the test the students didn't know what they were and were never taught the skills needed to figure it out.

Rote learning at it's er... finest.
  by: jaded fox     03/30/2008 09:05 PM     
I was the same at school. Some subjects were made up largely of coursework, so I had to do homework for those, whereas history was entirely exam-based. My teacher was always keeping me on detention for not doing my homework, but I knew that the detention would only ever be 15 minutes, 30 max, whereas had I actually done the homework it would have taken a lot longer! He kept threatening to not enter me for the exam, but never went through with it (I did a couple of pieces of homework over the 2-year period, just to keep him sweet!). I still got a C, despite being a complete slacker! I found history quite interesting (well, some of it!) but could never really be all that bothered with subjects I knew I'd never use later on.

I always did well in maths and science and didn't really try too hard on the softer subjects such as English, RE, history, media studies and anything else where I had to write essays.
  by: TabbyCool     03/31/2008 04:45 PM     
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