Regents Recap — January 2015: Not Even Pseudo-Context
Here is another installment in my series reviewing the NY State Regents exams in mathematics.
This is question 8 from the Integrated Algebra exam.
The context of this question is utterly absurd The question might as well have been
“Four students are taking a math test. One of the questions asked them to write an algebraic equation. Which student answered the test question correctly?”
Why not just ask “Which of the following is an example of an algebraic equation?”. Maybe there are people who believe that framing questions as games, or humanizing them, will engage test-takers more, but it’s hard to believe that contrivances like this do anything but further separate students from the concepts they purport to assess. This is another example of the negative impact these poorly-designed tests can have on students, which I discuss at length in my talk “g=4, and Other Lies the Test Told Me“.
Math teachers are familiar with the notion of pseudo-context, but I’m not sure what I would call this. Meta-pseudo-context? Pseudo-meta-context? Pseudo-pseudo-context? Ridiculous, at the very least.