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Regents Recap — June 2015: Pointless Questions

Here is another installment in my series reviewing the NY State Regents exams in mathematics.

I really do not understand the point of questions like this, from the June 2015 Geometry Regents exam.

2015 GEO 12Why do we manufacture artificial multiple choice questions to assess whether or not students understands geometric constructions?  Why not just ask them to construct something?

Moreover, the construction aspect of this question is essentially irrelevant:  the question might as well be, “Which diagram shows an altitude?”.

The Regents exam writers have been using this approach in testing geometric constructions for some time.  It just seems pointless to me.  And it is often the case that the exam also includes a free-response question that asks the student to actually construct something with a compass, which makes this multiple choice question both pointless and redundant.

Much is made about the importance of testing when it comes to student learning and teacher accountability.  But such arguments seem less reasonable the more closely we look at what we test and how we test it.

2 Comments

  1. Laura Sosnowski says:

    I agree 100% with everything you said. Scores must be taken in context of the test questions. How dare they hold teachers accountable for scores when the test is ridiculous.

  2. Ease of grading? though not clear since they already ask for a construction.

    I think it would be more fun if they had the construction of a 17-gon as one of the answer choices:

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