Regents Recap — June 2013: Where Do Systems Belong?
Here is another installment in my series reviewing the NY State Regents exams in mathematics.
Consider the following three questions from the June 2013 New York math Regents exams.
From top to bottom, these questions appeared on the Integrated Algebra exam, the Geometry exam, and the Algebra 2 / Trig exam.
Solving systems of equations is a fundamental mathematical skill and should be a part of any math course. But do these three questions really span 3-4 years of mathematical learning?
The first two are simply different representations of the same problem. The third question involves a relation instead of a function, but it’s presentation as a multiple choice question sidesteps any additional algebraic or geometric complexity that dealing with a relation might entail. Ironically I think the question from the earliest exam is the hardest of the three.
I’ve written about this curious treatment of systems of equations in analyzing other Regents exams. This phenomenon comes to mind when politicians and administrators take credit for raising test scores, or trumpet gains in student growth from year-to-year.