Date: Oct 2, 2012 6:19 AM
Author: Robert Hansen
Subject: Re: An Algebra 2 Test

So here are released problems from the California CST Algebra 2 exam...

http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/tg/sr/documents/rtqalg2.pdf

>From the standpoint of skills, these problems have good coverage. Namely...

Polynomial Arithmetic
Factoring and Simplification
Simultaneous Equations
Graphing
Probability
Conic Sections
Binomial Expansion
Logs and Exponents
Absolute Value and Radicals
Complex Numbers

But from the standpoint of problems, this exam has hardly any and of the few problems it does have, they are just direct adaptations of the skills. For example, restating a simultaneous equation directly into words...

"For a wedding, Shereda bought several dozen roses and several dozen carnations. The roses cost $15 per dozen, and the carnations cost $8 per dozen. Shereda bought a total of 17 dozen flowers and paid a total of $192. How many roses did she buy?"

The SAT and ACT have better questions than this. Skills are important, they go with the territory, but this test doesn't even hint at the territory. This test does not embody the algebraic nor mathematical reasoning which is required to apply in a context that uses it, like physics.

How many of you, if it were your own son or daughter, would stop at this skill based exam?

Bob Hansen