Regents Recap — June 2016: How Much Should This Be Worth?
The following problem appeared on the June 2016 Common Core Algebra 2 Regents exam.
This is a straightforward and reasonable problem. What’s unreasonable is that it is only worth two points.
The student here is asked to construct a representation of a mathematical object with six specific properties: it must be a cosine curve; it must be a single cycle; it must have amplitude 3; it must have period ; it must have midline y = -1; and it must pass through the point (0,2).
That seems like a lot to ask for in a two-point problem, but the real trouble comes from the grading guidelines.
According to the official scoring rubric, a response earns one point if “One graphing error is made”. Failure to satisfy any one of the six conditions would constitute a graphing error. So a graph that satisfied five of the six required properties would earn one point out of two. That means a response that is 83% correct earns 50% credit.
It gets worse. According to the general Regents scoring guidelines, a combination of two graphing errors on a single problem results in a two-point deduction. That means a graph with four of the six required properties, and thus two graphing errors, will earn zero points on this problem. A response that is 66% correct earns 0% credit!
The decision to make this six-component problem worth two points creates a situation where students are unfairly and inconsistently evaluated. It makes me wonder if those in charge of these exams actually considered the scoring consequences of their decision, especially since there are two obvious and simple fixes: reduce the requirements of the problem, or increase its point value.
This is another example of how tests that are typically considered objective are significantly impacted by arbitrary technical decisions made by those creating them.
- Regents Recaps
- Regents Recap — June 2016: Scale Maintenance
- Regents Recap — June 2014: Common Core Scoring
- 9th Grade Questions on 10th and 11th Grade Exams