Today I received an email from the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE). Turns out I wasn’t the only one with testlet issues. Here is part of the the email:
Additionally, please note, we received some critical feedback from the field on our testlets and have made final changes to reflect your feedback, especially on the Algebra I test. Thank you so much for your support Mississippi. You are the best!
Included in the email was a link to the changed testlets. Unfortunately, though they were somewhat better, they are still not correct. Here is “Christopher Completing the Square” as it still stands (a few symbols were fixed, but the main issue remains… We can not ask a question about the vertex or axis of symmetry if we have not given the students an equation in two variables.
The answer key says F, T, T, F, T.
Here is my fixed version (in case you forgot it from my earlier blog post Testlet ). I know there are some periods missing on the statements but at least the mathematics is correct:
(The answer is F, T, T, F, T.)
Of course I have only looked at the Algebra I document in detail, and the 8th grade document cursorily. Some districts are big enough or rich enough (or both) to have math content experts, curriculum coordinators, and math coaches who have been pouring over all of these documents for the past several days. They spent countless hours (some of them during their Spring Break week) working problems, compiling lists of issues, and revising questions. They sent their efforts off to MDE, but for some it was too late. Here is what one of my colleagues (who is a MATH PhD) got in response to her efforts:
Thank you for the feedback.
I read all of your recommended edits, and you are welcome to access the word version, and make any adjustments as necessary for your district.
The only edits that will be done at this point are incorrect answers. For the item that you are referring to that you are suggesting 30 to be the answer, you are welcome to change that as well. For item #14, you are welcome to adjust those other answer choices, and turn #14 to have only one answer.
We provided word versions for the field so that changes can be made to suit the student’s needs.
All I can say is Whaaaatttt? Make edits to meet your students’/districts’ needs? (P.S. I hope the MDE person doesn’t have to take a test on where to put an apostrophe any time soon.) What about making edits to make it right? What about teachers and students in poor districts who don’t have anyone who can help? What about the fact that schools and districts get graded based on how their students do on these tests?
Before we continue comparing states and comparing districts and comparing schools, let’s compare resources. It’s not a level playing field, folks. In Mississippi we are going into the game with only half the equipment we need and have myopic refs who will keep score.