WSU ED PROF IN KAPPAN: 4TH GRADE WASL MATH IS TOO DARNED HARD
zip38\clip\99\19\testhard.txt
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Oct 10, 1999
State's 4th-grade math test too difficult for students' development
level, critics say by Linda Shaw Seattle Times staff reporter 


See .gif of lemonade problem
http://www.leconsulting.com/arthurhu/99/15/lemon.gif


Arthur Hu Comments: It's finally about !@#$% time somebody else sat
down and took a good hard look at the ridiculous sample problems
they've posted since I've been trying to tell Olympia and the press
since 1997 that the test is a test of 7th, 10th and beyond grade
skills. 


WASL IS _THE_ SPI 2000 ISSUE If voters believe Terry Bergeson, she
will be re-elected, and voters will continue to support "higher
standards" based reform. If voters are outraged that WASL is an
unexcusable multimillion dollar boondoggle and scam that plays God
with our kids minds and future, she will be run out of office.  Which
will it be?


This article does not mention:


* Even this ed professor did not compare the skills with benchmarks
which clearly state that indirect measurement with forumulas,
comparing fractions with unlike denominators, and ratios are clearly
grade 7 on the state's own definition of developmental benchmarks.
Washington in fact is the only state with skill benchmarks which are
specific enough to disqualify nearly half of the alleged 4th grade
sample questions. Direct answers to many sample "4th grade" problems
can be easily found in junior high math or high school algebra or
statistics textbooks. It is not a matter of "higher order thinking"
but being forced to figure out skills which will be directly taught
in higher grade levels. It is not up to a "teacher committee" to
decide what has been historically been taught at each grade level,
and what actual kids are capable of demonstrating.


Link: 
http://www.k12.wa.us/reform/ealr/standards/math.html


MORE DIFFICULT THAN THE COLLEGE SAT
* WASL versions of 4th grade problems found the College level SAT are
actually far MORE difficult than the SAT versions of, for example,
sorting and place value problems.


FLUNKS OUT BLACKS AND HISPANICS WORSE THAN THE CTBS
* The 1997 test flunked 95% of Blacks and Hispanics, with a race gap
equal in size to the standard deviation found in "biased" IQ and SAT
tests rather than the smaller gap found in standardized tests such as
the CTBS.


FLUNKS OUT ABOVE-AVERAGE ASIANS AND HISPANICS
* The test penalizes some largely Asian and Hispanic schools in
Beacon Hill and Grandview near Yakima that scored above the 60th
percentile above average on the CTBS, but far below state average on
the WASL. Predominantly black schools with merely below average 25th
percentile CTBS scores such as Thurgood Marshall had 95-100% flunk
rates on the WASL. The WASL is one of the few known tests where the 
Asian math average is BELOW the white average score.


BLACKS EQUAL TO WHITES IN 5 YEARS, YET JUST AS FAR BEHIND!
* If gains are to be believed, state Black students in 2001 will 
at the same rate as Whites as recently as 1997. Yet nearly one
standard deviation continues to separate the races, and predominantly
black schools such as African American Acacemy and Thurgood Marshall
continue to populate the bottom of the list with 0 to 95 percent
failure rates. 


RAND FINDS HUGE GAINS IN SIMILAR KIRIS "SUSPECT"
* Rand Corporation has stated that gains of a standard deviation over
the space of 5 years are "highly suspect" if not certain proof of the
invalidity of the claim that rising scores are proof of rising
skills. 


See link:
http://www.rand.org/publications/MR/MR1014/


SCAM: SECRETLY LOWERING THE BAR
Rather, the steady 10 point annual rise, whether by accident or
deliberate manipulation, effectively lowers the bar by 10 points per
year to meet the quota set of 80 percent passing in 10 years. At the
end of 10 years, the test will no longer be as difficult as the top
20 percent, but reflect what all but the lowest 20 percent can do.
The state has provided absolutely no documentation or other tests to
confirm that the tests are equally hard and reflect substantial gains
in skills. 


ONLY AN EASY TEST WILL RESULT IN 80% PASS RATE LIKE TAAS Despite the
claim of having been set to "world class standards", no nation,
state, city, or even school has been able to demonstrate 80% passing
rates with a test this difficult.  Texas is one of the few states
with 80 percent pass rates, but their TAAS actually does conform
largely to Washington's unambitious written EALR grade level
standards, in contrast to the assessment which appears to have been
written to G7, G10, or higher level benchmarks.


4TH GRADE TEST MORE DIFFICULT THAN G10, WHICH HAS NO HS MATH IN IT!
* Looking at the actual test, the 4th grade is the most difficult.
Some problems exceed high school level mathematics in complexity,
such as explaining in detail how to use sampling to estimate numbers
in an entire population. The 7th grade test is 8 to 9th grade level.
The 10th grade test is mostly middle school level arithmetic easily
solved with a few punches on a 4 function calculator, there is NO
high school level math (algebra, triginometry, advanced statistics)

on the 10th grade level test.


PERFORMANCE BASED TESTS, OUTCOME BASED EDUCATION FLAWED FROM THE CORE
* Performance based tests in general cost 10 times as much to score,
measure fewer tasks, are inaccurate and unreliable to scores, tend to
be invalid measure of curriculum, and suffer from a wider racial gap
than standardized tests, in addition to deliberately omitting
percentile score rankings which can be compared with other states or
nations. Performance based tests are based on the troubled philosiphy
of Outcome Based Education and Constructivism which has had a record
of failure throughout the 1980s and 1990s across the nation.


HOW CAN YOU SET PASSING STANDARD, CORRECT SOLUTIONS _AFTER_ THE TEST??
* Rubrics for determining what will be judged as a "correct" answer
is not established until AFTER the test has been given and all 60,000
responses surveyed. The passing score is not established until after
all tests have been scored by a committee that is not even permitted
to compare problems with grade level benchmarks for compliance. The
tests are "scientifically" constructed to be of equal difficulty
across all years even though Terry Bergeson has stated that some
writing tasks were substantially more difficult in some years than
others.


Hopefully this will mark the beginning of inevitable
standards based train wreck that will bring down Terry Bergeson in
the 2000 election, whether to me or anybody else.
																	
--- article starts here -------------------------------------------


{NOTE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material
is distributed without profit or payment for non-profit research and
educational purposes only.)
						 
A longtime education professor at Washington State University
recently made an item-by-item review of the state's new test for
fourth-graders. Donald Orlich concluded the reading, writing and
listening sections of the sample tests he studied were tough but
reasonable.  
																							 
But the math test, he concluded, was unreasonable, and unfair.  


Sample 
                One    Two     Three
Lemonade power  XX     XXXX     X      -> Lemonade
Water           X      XXX      XX


Which makes the strongest lemonade?


You state that this is a ratio problem. Well, guess what? Ratio
does not appear in most math textbooks, and on the WA state
standards, NAEP standards, and draft specification until after
the 6th or 7th grades.


Yes, one could use "reasoning" to solve this with no knowledge 
of ratio, but any one who used straight forward math would 
look at the 3 pictures and construct the 3 ratios to compare:


2/1 4/3 1/2


To do a formal comparison requires converting to a common 
denominator, in this cases 1/6


12/6 8/6 3/6


which makes the first the largest ratio. Yes you could informally
compare the fractions by drawing picture of 4/3, and reducing 2/1 to
2, but even that's beyond what covered in 4th grade which is
division, and comparing fractions with common denominators.


What's more, comparing fractions with unlike denominators is
also a task which should not be assessed until well after the
4th grade.


Yes, perhaps the top 10 percent of kids will have the IQ or
the background from their educated affluent parents to figure

out a ratio problem with comparing fractions, but this is a
test of what ALL students should know and be able to do, and it
is a test of 4th grade EALRs, not the upper grades.


MikeHihn@WALiberty.org/CC
   >The article says more about a fairly dumb retired EDUCATION
   >professor than about 4th graders.
   >For him (the prof) it probably is too hard -- because he went about
   >solving the example question in a way that is barely literate.  A
   >correct solution requires no math ability at all -- other than the
   >ability to count to .... two.
   >The question uses pictures, which curiously are not included with
   >the online edition, and are difficult to describe verbally.  But
   >I'll try, for those who do not receive the Times.  A GIF is
   >attached, but may not transfer to all the lists shown here.
   >There is a series of three pictures, each with a different version
   >of ingredients for making lemonade.  The questions is -- Which
   >recipe will create the strongest lemonade?
   >The professor claims only 2% of kids nationwide can solve the
   >question, because it includes three variables, each of which must
   >be converted into a fraction.  Is that true?
   >The first picture is one container of water, and two smaller
   >containers of lemonade.  That one's easy, virtually self-evident,
   >and sets the standard for the rest -- one "pair" of mix containers
   >per container of water.  Duh.
   >Plus, the sole water container is visually connected to one "pair"
   >of lemonade mixes.
   >The second picture is three glasses of water, but only two of the
   >waters are matched with a "pair" of lemonade containers, thus
   >clearly weaker on visual evidence alone (one of the waters has no
   >matching pair of mixes).
   >Third picture is a reverse ratio of the first -- two waters and
   >only one mix.
   >Thus, I submit that if the kid -- a fourth grader -- has ever made
   >lemonade (or Kool-Aid), the answer can be derived from the pictures
   >alone, with no math skills at all.
   >If you did not receive the attached GIF, then you cannot answer my
   >own question.  Is this really too tough for even the SAT's -- as
   >claimed by Arthur Hu?  And if so, does one need a high SAT score to
   >fathom recipes in (say) the Betty Crocker cookbook?
   >Oh yeah, the perfesser is a retired EDUCATION perfesser, not a math
   >perfesser.   Nuff said?  
   >-Mike Hihn     http://WALiberty.org
   >WA Liberty PAC & Grassroots Liberty Foundation