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Monday, January 30, 2012

Could You Pass A High School Standardized Test?

(Flickr/biologycorner)

Rick Roach, in his fourth term on the Orange County Florida school board, decided recently to take Florida’s standardized math and reading tests for 10th graders.

The results were less than brag-worthy: He failed the math test entirely, and scored a D in reading.

Roach argues that his poor performance shows that something is seriously wrong with the test.

“I have a bachelor of science degree, two masters degrees, and 15 credit hours toward a doctorate. I help oversee an organization with 22,000 employees and a $3 billion operations and capital budget, and am able to make sense of complex data related to those responsibilities,” he told the Washington Post.

Roach’s critics disagree, saying every American with a high school education should know what’s in those tests.

A New Way To Test

Roach is using his experience to argue for a different approach to teaching and testing. As he told Here and Now‘s Robin Young, “I went to a remedial reading class for students, there was a girl there who was getting mostly A’s in her honors classes, and she was sitting in a remedial class learning how to read,” he said.

“She would be taking piano if she wasn’t taking that [remedial class]. These kids get put into an academic jail because some test says they can’t read. It’s just not right.”

Guest:

  • Rick Roach, long time member of the Orange County Florida School Board

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • patrickmattimore1

    The question is not whether an accomplished adult without studying can pass a high school standardized test. It’s whether that adult can pass the test after studying. Many of us can probably think of loads of examples of tests we passed  (a written DMV test) that would give us some problems today if we took the tests cold.
    The example Roach uses is also inapt. The fact that an honors student has to take remedial classes suggests a problem with her classes and also suggests that her teachers are giving her grades based upon dumbed down standards.

    • Anonymous

      Good thing they didn’t have a reasoning test for him to fail too.

      • Ianlevi

        How very profound of you John. 

  • Claire
    • Alan Z

      No, he’s not. In the comments someone in an accounting class complains that learning this stuff is a waste of time, the software does it all for you. Yes, but 1) who wrote the software and 2) if you yourself don’t know the concept you can’t tell if the software is giving you a correct answer; garbage in/garbage out.

    • Judge Roach

      Wow Claire,
      I was just about to pass out when I came upon the tellingdad site. Now there is a friendly site for sure. I had to get up, walk over to my three diplomas and 4 re-election certificates to see if it really had my name on them….whew! Thanks again.
      Rick Roach

  • steve

    hey I teach how to build computer games at the college level, I have two fine arts degrees and I need alot of math skills to solve problems every day. 

  • Ron

    If Florida wants to remove these requirements for achieving a HS diploma, will they be giving money back to the Federal Government.  I believe they received extra money when No Child Left Behind was passed.  I believe because of all the new material to be taught.

  • Isaacvw

    this guest who doesn’t think what kids are learning in math is relevant has missed the point Robin raised: that this math teaches critical thinking.  Perhaps because he never internalized the teachings of high school math, he also misses the point?

  • Missann Aguilera

    I work at a Community College teaching public speaking and communication and students for whatever reason come into my class without those critical thinking skills. It’s sad really. I don’t think the standardized tests students have to take are helping them at all. 

  • Jody

    Great idea–let’s dumb down education in this country! We’re already struggling with a lack of folks in technical fields, consistent results showing our students are behind those of other countries, and a population that is easily deluded by misinformation. Let’s grease that slide straight to the bottom!

  • Jody

    BTW, anyone try the tests? I just took the two samples on line and got 7/7 on each. I am an adult with two college degrees, but so was the guest.

    • http://twitter.com/pait Felipe Pait

      You were faster than I was.

    • http://twitter.com/pait Felipe Pait

      I took the reading one as well. Can’t believe someone who has trouble with it manages to get elected to a school board. With how little wisdom the world is governed……

      • Ianlevi

        And yet so quickly we are to judge, Felipe and Jody. I think you two missed the important issue that Mr. Roach expressed; a concern for RELEVANT and proactive educational practices for the betterment of a young adult’s future. Just because something has been done an accepted way for an extended amount of time does not mean it is the most appropriate way. 

  • Philip Kirk

    So all the math skills a tenth grader needs is the ability to make change at a mcjob.  Companies cannot find enough CNC machinists among other manfacturing skills.  I spoke with four companies in the last two weeks that cannot find a Metalurgist.  We need more emphasis on math and science not less.   

  • Anonymous

    It is a bit strange that an educator is dismissing learning about abstract concepts and claiming that if you don’t use it in the real world, it isn’t important.

  • http://twitter.com/pait Felipe Pait

    I looked at the math questions. Frankly, they are trivial. If a man can be successful in business, politics, or academia and have serious difficulty with these types of questions, that only shows with how little wisdom the world is governed.

    To run an institution, to make sense of the news, to operate a machine, or even to make an informed decision whether to rent or buy a house, one needs a lot more mathematics than necessary to take the test. If high school graduate cannot do it, we have a possible explanation for corporate mismanagement, for the inexplicable choices of many voters, for the disappearance of manufacturing jobs from America, and for the real estate bubble of the last decade. Incompetence. 

    Go do your homework and get back to us when you finished it.

  • Alan Z

    I took the reading test and scored 6/7; I screwed up the first question. I have a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering so I only answered the first math question; I did it in my head and got it right but I realize as an engineer I am a math skills outlier. Many people conflate “arithmetic” and “mathematics.” Arithmetic is “2+2=4.” Mathematics is a language that all humans can learn that describes how the world works in a physical way. Just as you must learn vocabulary and punctuation when learning a new spoken and written language you must also learn these things in mathematics. McJobs require arithmetic maybe, most of the time the cash register does it for you, anything else requires mathematics, at least a basic statistics course. Business management assumes an ability to analyze data; statistics provides those analysis tools. Math is everywhere; ignore it at your peril.

  • Jamea Sale

    As a current high school music educator I have been appalled by the poor writing skills demonstrated by my colleagues…even among the administrators. Interestingly my 8th grade daughter has often been frustrated by the poorly written instructions and communications coming from her middle school teachers.  As far as the business world, in my more than 15 years experience designing MEP engineering systems, I can say there too, simple writing & math errors were the most common reason engineers were not promoted or lost a position. Yes there can be issues with standardized tests, but this should not change our goal is to raise thinking adults able to communicate effectively or to understand abstract elements.

  • Thomas

    7/7 on the reading and 6/7 on the math with one lazy mistake. Mr. Roach should contact the colleges he attended and ask for his money back.

  • SPR28

    I took the math – got 7 of 7. Not that hard.

  • Jean-Luc Garrick

    The speaker obviously does not understand what reading is all about.  Many college graduates can read, but do they REALLY understand what the text is saying?  Do they know what is being implied in certain statements.  For that matter, the grammar of the average college graduate STINKS.

  • Mathematics educator

    Rick Roach is a disgrace to the teaching profession, which he was. He  has no clue what he is talking about when it comes to studying math. It gives you the ability to think, be analytical. He admitted in an interview on “THE STORY” that he is not a good test taker.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_JCDRRMFCXP3D2DU5BMIMVIOVZU edwards

    These tests destroy the kids self-esteem. We need a test that all can pass.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_JCDRRMFCXP3D2DU5BMIMVIOVZU edwards

    This test is a joke. When I was in school (70s) these were 8th grade problems, not 10th.

    • Anonymous

      I doubt you remember which questions you were working on which year 30-40 years ago.

  • Melissa

    I tried the test.  I got 6/7 on the math – and the one I missed might have made more sense if the symbols had been there instead of written out.  The reading was 7/7.  I have to say, though, I was taught critical thinking in school, not just how to take the test.  The way I was taught is very different than the way my children (graduated 2005 to 2009) were taught.

  • Adam Robins

    What a message to be sending to our young people, eh? I took the math and got 7/7 without calculators, notes, or any other research. I find it appalling that a school board member is claiming that the test is too hard or irrelevant because he doesn’t get it. I agree that different students may need different approaches, and I also believe that standardized tests are mostly bunk (though I score very well on them), but I don’t believe the answer to every difficulty is to stop trying.

  • Melissa

    Also, has anyone considered the kids with significant test anxiety?  This can seriously impact scores for the handful of kids who have this problem.

  • Lis

    It sounds as if Mr. Roach expects high school students to pick a direction for their careers in 9th grade. Who knows if a kid will connect with a subject that they never expected to like or excell in. That is the job of students– to try different things and see what works. It would be sad if, say, Sherman Alexie hadn’t taken that poetry class in college and had become an unhappy lawyer instead of a writer.
    And what about the idea that learning to work hard in difficult math courses develops study skills and perseverance? Never mind that we have a public that ignores statistics.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NNGSW4IUL7PFTKKIU2E2M4WH7Y Laurel

    Really?  Rick Roach couldn’t pass the test?  I thought the samples were easy, and I have less education than he does.  I then went out to find the whole exam thinking perhaps the sample questions were outliers.  After reveiwing the math test with answer key, I still say this test should be easy for an educated adult.  I hope he doesn’t teach math to any students. 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_JCDRRMFCXP3D2DU5BMIMVIOVZU edwards

    7/7 math, under 5 minutes.  No degree, 1 year community college.

  • Crmachineman

    Hi. I wanted to chime in to what your guest is talking about. School just didn’t work for me, especially those tests. I would just shut down. Even though I tried really hard, the material just didn’t interest me. I run my own machine shop, built by myself with machines that were destined for the scrap yard. I generate my own combined heat and power, incorporating many of my own innovations. I also have designed and improved countless products, and I support the American steel industry by purchasing material exclusively from US mills. My Father is also a great inventor who revolutionized the way we find oil, and guess what, He didn’t do very well in school as well. Although I have detailed explanations for why this problem is happening in our Country, but it would take a while for me to cover it properly. 
    Thank you, and by the way, keep up the good work on your show, I find your topics to be very interesting and relevant.
    Sincerely,
    Frederic Chelminski

  • Kaligaclark

    After taking the sample tests, I really don’t understand what the problem is.  The reading test was easier, only because I had to think more on the geometry questions.  These are NOT too hard for the kids and I would expect my step-daughter to be able to answer these questions when she is in 10th grade.  She is in 7th now.  I got 7/7 on both and have a degree in CIS and almost done with a masters in accounting.  I do not think these are too hard!

  • Harchanko

    Mr. Roach suggests that these are not skills he and others need.  However, if Mr. Roach is unable to read a simple graph, I guarantee you he is dependent on someone who does.  I found all the questions pretty relevant for just being able to reason logically.  Please excuse me, but this suggests to me that a major problem of our educational system is the dumbing down of the people running policy.

  • Baqaqi

    These tests are NOT simply to demonstrate what knowledge a child has accumulated.  Among other things they are intended to demonstrate a child’s ability to learn new things when the demand is made of them, and this ability is not simply something that some children have and others do not.  It is something that takes work to develop.  When children do poorly on these tests it shows inability or unwillingness to do the required work.  A huge part of a teacher’s job (and a parent’s job, for that matter) is to teach a child how to overcome difficulties in learning, how to pick problems apart and solve them, and how to communicate effectively.

  • Lwebd

    I am 150% in agreement with Mr. Roach!

    • Anonymous

      Did you get 10.5 of the 7 math questions right?

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/YI7JPHPR4F6T2PALUHX4CXUHWQ It

    Loved the “Really” Robin! Once again good topic bad guest. That he could not find a relation between math and critical thinking? That was true ignorance at its best. I agree with him that the test should not be the only judgment, but the test score and that comment show that he is qualified for a top-flight job in either the food service or housekeeping industries

  • Karen Battese

    While we are talking TEST, how much money is being spent by this all the states to buy the Tests and then have them graded?  Lots and lots and lots.  Who is benefitting from all this testing, I think the Testing Companies are making lots and lots of money at the expense of kids lives and futures.  

  • Smitys

    Boy! Do I have a lot of thoughts about this!  I homeschool, and I also taught high school level history and government.  There are problems with these tests.  Basing a student’s acheivement solely on the test is wrong.  A student’s abilities are not going to be completely evaluated by an acheivement test, although it is the easiest way to evaluate someone.  It is also wrong to indict subject matter based on the idea that ‘if I’m not going to use it, I don’t need to learn it.’  Learning multiple subjects, it doesn’t matter if you use it or you can prove it gives you critical thinking, it expands you as an individual, gives you more depth.  If you don’t study it, how you do know if it interests you or not?
    Mr. Roach’s experiment is an indictment of the testing system, not the curricula.  Although I applaud him for shedding light on the farce that is testing, I don’t agree with all his conclusions.

  • Bob

    As someone who has taught high school and has had to deal with too many standardized tests, I can say a couple things (I haven’t looked at the particular tests here yet). (1) There are often poorly worded or confusing items on such tests, particularly the more subjective “choose the BEST answer” questions on reading comprehension. (2) The standardization often leads to a limited pool of question types, allowing teachers to find ways to teach question types without actually teaching understanding of the underlying concepts.

    And for those who think algebra and higher level math teaches critical thinking beyond math, that’s probably not true in the vast majority of schools in this country. (I speak as a teacher who has designed math courses to meet state guidelines.) Learning algorithms and procedures to move x and y around is useless for critical thinking; you might as well have kids memorize the steps to bake a cake or something. Those “word problems” or “story problems” that are so loathed by teachers are the only thing worthwhile in most math textbooks at the high school
    level… but I’ve seen plenty of classes where they are barely ever used by teachers… and that’s something that needs to start in elementary school (where most teachers can barely do nore than arithmetic). By high school, it’s a little late to try to teach critical thinking… by then, kids think of math as boring algorithms.

  • D C

    This guest was appalling in many ways, but the thing that got me the most was this thought:  The Florida elections keep pointing out how devastated the state was by the mortgage crisis.  Proper understanding of a mortgage requires both basic algebra and comprehension of semantics.  The guest said “no one doubts he can read”, and I don’t doubt he can read the newest Tom Clancy book… but life isn’t about reading fiction.  Undoubtedly there is a high correlation between ability to pass the tests and ability to fully grasp a complicated contract like a mortgage.  However, to bring us back to the election it seems that the irony is a state where the inclination is to blame the president for not saving them enough while supporting a bureaucrat who wants to hide the underlying problem by dumbing down the test.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/YI7JPHPR4F6T2PALUHX4CXUHWQ It

    A topic not covered but I would like you to expolre is If “the test” is going to be used as a factor in the student and teacher pay, “the test” shold be given to the primary gardian of each student and factored into the final grade. I think that would show a great deal of what we are dealing with.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/YI7JPHPR4F6T2PALUHX4CXUHWQ It

      Obviously this would show both the children of your guest and mine to be smarter than the test shows due to to his failure of the test and my inability to spell.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/J7R6ORAZP4CPCJZHF5QC5CML3Q Csilla

    I challenge Robin’s statement that she doesn’t use the algebra she learned in school in her everyday life. If you’ve gone shopping and calculated whether you get a better deal with the 20% off coupon or the $5 off coupon, you’ve used algebra. If you’ve traveled abroad and used the exchange rate to calculate the dollar-equivalent of a souvenir, you’ve used algebra. If you’ve calculated how many cans of paint it will take to paint your living room or how much wood you need to fence in your back yard, you’ve used algebra. A child uses simple algebra to figure out how many candy bars she can buy with her allowance. An adult *should* use algebra to examine the terms of their mortgage, the payment schedule, and how payments might balloon with fluctuations in the interest rate.
    Roach’s assertion that logic, critical thinking, and problem solving skills learned in math classes is non-transferrable to real life situations is absurd. If kids aren’t learning those skills, it’s because of the way they are being taught, not because they don’t need to know math.

  • http://profiles.google.com/thomasphifer Thomas Phifer

    Wow Rick is going to get a lot of tomatoes thrown his way on this one! I kind of get where he is coming from so I think I’ll argue in his favor. The general points I agree with: Our national testing system needs to be improved. There does need to be more focus on skills that students will actually use but don’t completely cutout subjects. Just allow each student to choose more of their own path of skills. (This is being done somewhat already with Applied Technology Centers but I think needs to have more focus from administration and as a concept needs to be used at a younger stage) To further argue in the voice of Rick: I think in general we need to teach things in the same way they were learned in the first place. Math took generations and generations to develop and came about because of  complex human needs (purpose). When you teach something so abstract at such a young age it makes no “sense” (why do I need this?) which is really the hardest thing about math. Don’t take mathematical concepts (Pythagorean theorem etc.) that brilliant  mathematicians have come up with by sitting in a chair and thinking only about math for most of their lives and then hand them to a 15 year old expecting them to understand it’s significance. We think, “Oh we can just take all this knowledge we’ve learned as a species and dump it into our children’s heads and they’ll have an advantage!”. Knowledge has to be supplied in context to a child’s current level of understanding. Precise application of knowledge is better than spraying gobs of knowledge and topics all over the place and just hoping some of it sticks to our children’s brains.

    -25 year old college grad from SC (one of the worst public education states, so I apologize for any incomplete thoughts! hah)

    *I think Csilla’s comment above mine speaks my point more succinctly.

    • http://adventuresonthewaytothebar.blogspot.com/ floridabartaker

      I believe the main problem is that our school system has not evolved along with the body of knowledge we now require of children.  In truth, from my non-educator point of view, very little seems to have changed between how I was taught in school and how my children are currently being taught.  Yet the amount of knowledge they need to have seems to have increased a bit.  If we postulate this backwards in time, our “modern” academic system, which might have been largely unchanged in the last 50 to 80 years, has to be able to teach many additional facts/processes than before.

      However, that doesn’t mean that the knew knowledge we require of children is irrelevant.  Moreover, the Pythagorean theorem, which as been around for hundreds of years, is definitely in the “must have” category of things a child should learn.  That the square of the sides equals the square of the hypotenuse might seem like a mouthful, but it is the mathematical proof that cutting through the gas station is shorter than going around it while walking to the bookstore.

      What we need is to cultivate in our children the sense of curiosity of why things work and how to figure things out.  Without a solid grasp of the sciences and math, you can’t have that.  And to temper that knowledge, the children need to learn of the mistakes and accomplishments of the past through learning history, as well as appreciate the best in humanity, which is what the arts and literature instill.  The curricula might be larger today than before, but in my mind, we should add even more.

  • Lwebd

    It seems thus far that most of the posts have been critical of Mr. Roach. I happen to agree with Mr. Roach, and I don’t believe he is saying we need to “dumb down” anything. What I most belive and agree with him on is the fact that for failing to do well on ONE test when through out a students high school years has maintained a 3.0 or better GPA  is unreasonable to judge or lable that student as incompetant. I have two daughters that both have better that 3.5 GPA, but the older daughter has not done well on the standardized test yet she has done more than most adults, i.e. starting her own business, which she has done by meeting with and gathering support from top City Officials and business professionals….BTW, she is only 17yrs old and will go on to college

    • http://adventuresonthewaytothebar.blogspot.com/ floridabartaker

      I don’t disagree that it is unfair to judge a student’s knowledge/ability on a single test, but frankly speaking, all of us and our children have had their days off as well as their good days.  I am not casting stones at your daughter, but again, a single anecdote does not invalidate the idea that there has to be a baseline of knowledge taught and then tested to ensure that the child has acquired said knowledge.

      I’m sure your child will do wonderfully in whatever she pursues, and that the one bad score was a fluke.  It happens to the best of us.

  • D C

    The math portion was ridiculous… it asks an algebra question, and then GIVES THE EQUATIONS, and asks you to solve.  It reminds me of a joke of how dumbed down math has become. 

  • http://adventuresonthewaytothebar.blogspot.com/ floridabartaker

    Goodness has Mr. Roach left me depressed.  As a recent transplant to Orange County, Florida, I’m terrified of what educators want to do with their current educational system.  As others have noted, the questions in the sample were trivial – reading was simple (if you knew the vocabulary) and the math portion was very simple – only required the knowledge of a couple of facts regarding triangles and parallel lines, and the ability to “guesstimate” on the national preserve question.  A couple of questions literally had the solution in the question itself.

    Where can I begin…for starters, it is a patently simplistic idea that one should take classes that “interest” them.  The purpose of primary and secondary education is to give every person a baseline of knowledge, not to start guiding them towards their chosen profession.  What does a freshman, sophomore, junior, or even senior know about what they truly want to pursue as a career?  Relatively few have a chosen field in mind while attending high school, and even among these select few, the likelihood that they will pursue other career paths as they accumulate education is high.

    The role of the educator, therefore, is to provide the student with the best toolbox they can, so that they may excel in whatever field they choose to follow.  Must every student learn Calculus in high school?  No, but it would fantastic if they did (and, sorry Mr. Roach, there wasn’t a single question remotely close to Calculus among the 7 questions provided).  Should every high school student have a solid appreciation of art, history, and English?  Again, a resounding yes, although it is not necessary.  I will grant that there might be a tiny portion of the student body that truly cannot learn, but these students should be a topic of their own.  The great majority of students can and do learn when their parents are involved, their teachers are passionate, and the administrators employ thoughtful, well-organized planning.

    I know that as a group, the listeners of this program have more education than the average person, but it is scary to think that we outpace Mr. Roach by such a large margin…

  • D C

    LWEBD, clearly standardized tests are problematic in as much as some people test better than others.  They shouldn’t be life and death situations.  However, they are useful as a measure of overall education.  To grade a system based on standardized tests is fair.  Florida students who take SATs or ACTs are below the national average.  This should be an indictment on the system. 

  • James M. Kilpatrick

    On testing, if one were to study, and comprehend, in there classes, those questions on the math while not one that one like me, being 59 years of age, they could be easily passed by the student that I was at that age.  Going back to look at the answers there is no doubt in my mind that those skills are being taught.

    Th language skills test show that the student you used as an example is not reading to their utmost critical ability for in presented no problem, to me, whatsoever. 

    I realize that some people are not test takers, but that is where I excelled; still do excell, in my most recent college courses of 5 years ago.

    I do believe that school time should not be spent teaching for a certain test, but from my perspective, even though square roots are not something we find over a 30 year working career, there is little doubt in my mind, that the student who is working and grasping the principles being taught, that the test that I took can be easily mastered.  Fifthstreetkck@hotmail.com  James M. Kilpatrick KCK  

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Gwendolyn-Kesler/100001660989576 Gwendolyn Kesler

    What’s wrong with that Board Member, or what’s wrong with the institutions that issued him these degrees?  I scored a 100% on the reading test  and it took me a total of 5 minutes. Really, it wasn’t that hard. 
    I went to High School in Holland at a Dutch Waldorf School and later got a Bachelors in Public Admin in California.  And then consider that English is my SECOND language!!!!   Maybe too much TV and video games young children and too much junk food, limits American students’ vocabulary and critical thinking skills! How else can you explain such an epic fail of an adult with two Masters and a Bachelors?
    It goes to show that all these standardized test are just a gimmick and part of a very expensive way to point fingers at each other. Only a combination of open written analysis and oral exams can be an indicator if the student has grasped the concepts. WHEN WILL THEY DO AWAY WITH MULTIPLE CHOICE where students can even get points for guessing? Where is the critical thinking of all these school boards, governments and power hungry test makers? It’s cheap to raise sheep. Raising human beings that can think for them selves is more expensive, So where is the political will to shift all the money from standardized and multiple choice tests to open written and oral tests that have to be graded by more than one Master teacher?

  • Sebeav01

    I have a bachelor’s degree but have been out of college for several years. I took the reading test and got a 7/7. After briefly skimming the poems, the answers seemed fairly obvious. My husband is a web and software developer and uses complicated math in his work every day. The foundation for many of those concepts were learned in high school. I’m sure when he was a 10th grader he had know idea how important math would become in his career. While I agree that standardized tests may need to be re-worked, Roach’s entire argument very poor. I find it laughable to think that the reading portion of a standardized test should be to simply show that the test taker can read, as he suggests.

  • Thomasmmurray3

    I was appalled the Mr. Roach suggests de-emphasizing math in the public school curriculum.  You (Ms. Young) were right to assert that math builds analytical thinking, but there’s more to it than that.  Top students should be learning beginning calculus by 12th grade, as the dreaded binomial theorem is one way that calculus is proved;– it’s not enough for a student to simply know that such a thing exists, but knowledge takes on a deaper and richer meaning if the student knows WHY the thing exists.

    Further, the professions that need use algebra are legion:  Engineers; architects; financiers; loan officers (compound interest is computed by the calculus of the natural exponent — meaning the more you pay off a loan, the less interest you pay — so I’d certainly would like my banker too know about that!); NASCAR, Indie and Formula One mechanics might not do calculus every week, but they’re glad it’s there if they need it; pilots and sailors use trigonometry every time they take off (even a small plane pilot needs the Law of Sines to compute his cross country vector against high winds aloft); and those electrical line crews must be able to handle complex number arithmetic (remember y = a + bi  — there’s a reason for it!  It’s even used to analyse auto suspension systems and radio transmittors.)

    If a student hasn’t at least an appreciation of algebra by the time s/he graduates high school, we’re slapping a concrete barrier over their heads (excuse the twisted grammar), preventing them from even the possibilities of a better, more improved livlihood.

    P.S.  I haven’t taken this site’s sample math test yet, but I’ll get back to you after I do.  I used to teach those future electric line workers complex arithmetic, as the power complanies simply wouldn’t hire them if they didn’t know it.  And they failed to take it in H.S.

    –Tom in Louisville, KY.

  • Sub teacher

    Scored 7/7 on reading, 6/7 on math (never liked geometry anyway).  To the snarky posters who can’t understand why our current high schoolers do so poorly on these tests, you should see how (& what) kids are being taught these days. Instead of content reading (science, history, government, economics, literature), they get “reading skills” that ask them to determine “author’s purpose,” “author’s voice,” “main idea,” etc. For grades 1-6, this foolishness takes 3.5 hours of their 6-hour school day (including 40 min spent in computer “lab” playing “guess the answer” on multiple-choice questions about truly stupid stories w/moral lessons about tolerance, bullying, etc). They rush thru these b/c once they’re done, they get to spend their remaining few minutes on math games & science – which should tell educators that our kids are starving for substantive knowledge. They get another 45 min for “specials” (music, PE, art) – also infuriating, b/c numerous studies show that music education improves students’ math & reading skills, & that PE (physical exercise) stimulates blood circulation & brain function – & about 45 min for math. That leaves 30 min for science/social studies (combined). If the professional “educators” who develop our curriculum would get away from the current educational philosophy of “best practices” for teaching reading, & allow teachers to teach content, perhaps our kids could read for understanding. But then, that might enable our kids to figure out that the politico-religious establishment has been filling their heads w/b.s., & they might actually be prepared for higher education, & refuse to take minimum wage jobs at Wal-Mart & Disney. And then how would the superrich get richer at their expense?

  • Dan

    I got every question right on both tests. I guess I am not eligible for a promotion. Drats!

  • Sandra

    Those here who claim to have taken the test could not have taken it, because that is not allowed. Mr. Roach was given special permission to take a version of the FCAT, but still not the one the students take. As a taxpayer, we have been funding this test with little return on investment. Tallahassee keeps changing the cut score, so validity is questionable.

  • Klaudia Morales

    With English being my third language I scored 7/7 on the reading test.
    Mr. Roach , let’s not forget the importance of comprehension, as part of reading and literacy.
    I too found all the questions on the math test pretty
    relevant for just being able to reason logically. 
    I agree with the majority here in saying  that the biggest problem of our educational system is
    the dumbing down of the people running policy.

  • Anonymous

    Unfortunately the link to the Post didn’t show the two tests,

  • Stardust

    he’s an idiot, and needs to go back to school.

    • ianlevi

      That’s it stardust? That is the most educated assessment you could come up with? In all your wisdom a fragmented sentence is the best you got? I don’t think Rick needs the extra education, FRIEND.

  • qgd

    I remember my high school exams three year agos. It was the easiest thing ever.

  • http://www.fibrowitch.net Jan Dumas

    I don’t know if I could pass the Standardized test with out spending some time reviewing basic english literature, and refreshing my math skills.  But wow, I would love a chance to try. 

  • Fred

    14/14.  That certainly wasn’t a difficult exerpt from the test; if it is representative of the whole thing, then I respectfully suggest Mr. Roach got his degrees from Kelloggs..

    Seriously … a BSc, 2 MScs, and 15 cr towards a doctorate?  I fear for the state of American education if that is true.

    Only a turnip couldn’t pass this exam. 

  • Esther

    Oh, I could not find neither 60-questions test, nor 7-questions sample. I found a 16-questions reading and 10-questions math Florida samples. It took me about 15 minutes each.  English is my second language.   Reading test is about understanding the content of the text. Isn’t it an important  skill?
    And math questions being far from advanced seem pretty relevant to everyday life.
    No calculus.
    I have my concerns on math education thou. The textbooks look mostly as “cookbooks”: do as shown, without real understanding. And  “I hate math” prevails…

  • The_npp

    OMG!  You couldn’t pass that test?  What are you, a moron?  I don’t care how many degrees you have.  It seems to imply our collegiate environments are in higher dire straits than I had originally imagined. (That means the fact you have degrees makes me think the school(s) you went to weren’t very good at “learning” you.)  I think perhaps the girl “who could be taking piano” needs to know how to read and write more than anything else.  After all, there aren’t that many pianos behind the counter at McDonald’s. 

  • Thomasmmurray3

    I agree with D C.  The math test was dumbed down a bit.  The 1st question should’ve just tested the student about setting up the problem, THEN they PRE-SET the problem and gave the students the equations, which is just silly.  Didn’t like the Nature Preserve prob, as it requiered too much estimation.  Still, got 7 out of 7.  I think Mr. Roach just has exam anxiety.  (Full disclosure, didn’t try the reading test.)  Tom in Louisville. 

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