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How Do Adults Score on Standardized Tests?

Photo by albertogp123 via Flickr.

Photo by albertogp123 via Flickr.

On Saturday, high school students in Providence, Rhode Island were the ones giving the test. They gave 50 professional adults an exam consisting of questions that have previously appeared on a state standardized test.

This year Rhode Island is implementing a new policy that requires high school students to pass the New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP) in order to graduate.

How did the adults do? Students released the test results this afternoon and 60% failed — receiving scores that would put a high school student at risk for not graduating.

Below is an excerpt from the Providence Journal with some of the adults’ reactions Saturday after taking the exam.

“So how do you think you did?” one of the students asked. “Terrible,” one adult said. “Awful feeling,” said another.

Most adults interviewed by The Journal thought they tanked the test. Even those who were math geeks in high school found the questions challenging, and a couple complained that the test included questions with “trick” answers.

“I was good at math,” said state Rep. Larry Valencia, D-Richmond. “I took trig, statistics, pre-calculus. I have a degree in chemistry. I think the test is very unfair. It doesn’t represent what the average high school student should know.”

The Rhode Island students’ undertaking will likely make headlines in the hours ahead. Whether the event warrants those headlines is up to interpretation. What’s yours?

  1. Paul Just #

    I was a career educator – 35 years, and taught from k – college. Yes, school is and should be “hard”, but we simply are NOT teaching high schoolers certain things that would make their lives easier, and we ARE still teaching MUCH that is irrelivant in today’s world. HOW can such a test be justified, where only 40% of an ADULT population taking the same test “passes?” The test, as well as what we are teaching, is flawed!

    March 20, 2013
  2. My reply: the tests are not inappropriate–high school is freaking HARD. You don’t remember? Calculus and Trig are HARD–like an incredibly foreign language that you forget if you don’t practice. I think a lot of Americans don’t give a lot of credit to students who are doing well in high school–being a straight-A student is incredibly difficult. Any grade below 90% pulls your average down. Even a 90, to a straight-A student, is borderline tragedy. It’s not luck, or just that they’re “good at math”. They are organized, motivated, dedicated, tenacious…oh, and sometimes they’re smart! At work, adults don’t get evaluated and assessed on a DAILY basis the way students do.

    March 19, 2013

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