Monday, April 21, 2014

Mom takes a sample STAAR test - 4th grade math

Tomorrow my fourth grader takes the STAAR test in math. Today she had a dentist appointment and missed most of the math review. Lucky her, instead of relaxing and having a homework free night she came home with a 12 question sample STAAR test for homework. She made sure I knew that her friend in another class had no homework and instructions to relax and get lots of rest.
STAAR - Apparently the state of TX isn't great at spelling, but at least you know what STAAR stands for now.

I try hard to support my children's teachers and although I was tempted to just tell her to forget about that sample STAAR test I bit my tongue. Instead I told her I was going to do the sample test and write a note to her teacher explaining that this was the best effort of a college graduate who frequently uses math in crafting and quilting and I don't expect any better from a 4th grader.

My daughter kept looking over my shoulder and wanting to help me with the test, but I wouldn't let her. I told her it would be cheating. After I finished writing my answers down on a separate piece of paper (her request), she insisted on taking the test too. Then we compared answers. Out of 12 questions we only disagreed on 2 answers. One I was right (mass is not effected by difference in gravity but weight is). One she was right ("read the directions Mom it says to add the number of vertices and edges together").

Here are my un-professional notes from taking the 12 question sample test:

#33 "What in the world?" the graph - #of computers and #of classrooms really didn't make sense and would be useless in the real world. What they really wanted students to do was figure out the ratio of column x to column y. It would have been easier without the confusing graph data titles.

#34 Not a multiple choice question and I didn't have an answer blank to bubble in so I wasn't sure what format they wanted the answer in. So I guess you really do have to teach the test for questions like this. This was the "read the directions Mom" question.

#36 I'll admit I hazarded a guess and when I realized it was one of the multiple choice answers decided I must have used the correct process. Question was something about how many t-shirt combinations can you make with 4 different colors of shirt, 4 different colors of ink and 3 different designs. (multiply 4x4x3 to get the answer).

#38 Just made me mad - toooooooo picky. What is the width of 4 of these video game controllers rounded to the nearest whole number? It showed a picture and even defined where the width was. Then you had to use their ruler to measure. If you were the least bit sloppy it looked like 1.5 inches which would round up to 2. But in fact it was only 1.45 inches which would round down. Then multiply that times 4. Fortunately the answer 8 was not a choice neither was the answer 6.

#39 After #38 I was mad at the test and felt that this question was unfair also but for a different reason. You have x number of containers that hold 24 quarts. How many quarts of water do you have in total? Simple multiplication question after an extremely picky question. x times 24 = your answer. Here's my beef with the question: nowhere does it state that the containers are full. It just says they hold 24 quarts. Every time I buy a tupperware from the store it tells me on the label how much it holds, but that doesn't mean it's full! So how much water do you really have? It depends on if any of the containers have water in them!

#48 My only other questionable question I actually had a clue from helping my 4th grader with homework earlier this school year. It's basically a vocabulary question. The question shows two figures and asks how they have been changed. The answer choices are a) rotation, b) translation, c) reflection, and d) none of the above. The correct answer is reflection but even my design program for my craft cutter refers to this as mirror image. I wouldn't have had a clue what translation is (sliding the figure one direction or another) except for the homework I helped with. And I graduated with honors from high school and college!

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