Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Science Proficiency

FLG was looking at this article about lackluster science proficiency, and wondered what 8th grade science proficiency entailed. So, he went to the actual report.

Some shocking findings, by 12th grade:
  • White and Asian students score comparably, which is higher than Black, Hispanic, and Native Americans.
  • Males score higher than female students  (FLG has to admit he's a tinsy bit surprised by this.)
  • Suburban students do better than city students
  • Higher levels of parental education associated with better math scores
  • More advanced science coursework is associated with higher proficiency.
 Thank goodness we had a study.  However, FLG wonders how much of this is colinear.

Anyway, to be completely honest, FLG had some issues with the questions.  Here's an 8th grade question:
The food web graph is confusing and is unrelated to the answer.  There's no arrows from the decomposers box.

There's also one on page 56, but it's too large to recreate here that seems silly.   They ask the student to determine whether the algae was green from what wavelengths that were absorbed when light was passed through a water droplet containing it when they already said photosynthesis was involved, which pretty much automatically implies it's green.  But the larger point is if you want to know what color it is, then best just to look at it.  It would've been far better to ask a mass spectrometry question.

4 comments:

The Ancient said...

From a website I read.......
_________________________

This is the eighth-grade final exam from 1895 in Salina, Kansas, USA . It was taken from the original document on file at the Smokey Valley Genealogical Society and Library in Salina, and reprinted by the Salina Journal.

8th Grade Final Exam: Salina, KS - 1895

Grammar (Time, one hour)
1. Give nine rules for the use of capital letters.
2. Name the parts of speech and define those that have no modifications.
3. Define verse, stanza and paragraph
4. What are the principal parts of a verb? Give principal parts of 'lie,''play,' and 'run.'
5. Define case; illustrate each case.
6 What is punctuation? Give rules for principal marks of punctuation.
7 - 10. Write a composition of about 150 words and show therein that you understand the practical use of the rules of grammar.

Arithmetic (Time,1 hour 15 minutes)
1. Name and define the Fundamental Rules of Arithmetic.
2. A wagon box is 2 ft. Deep, 10 feet long, and 3 ft. Wide. How many bushels of wheat will it hold?
3. If a load of wheat weighs 3,942 lbs., what is it worth at 50cts/bushel, deducting 1,050 lbs. For tare?
4. District No 33 has a valuation of $35,000.. What is the necessary levy to carry on a school seven months at $50 per month, and have $104 for incidentals?
5. Find the cost of 6,720 lbs. Coal at $6.00 per ton.
6. Find the interest of $512.60 for 8 months and 18 days at 7 percent.
7. What is the cost of 40 boards 12 inches wide and 16 ft.. Long at $20 per metre?
8. Find bank discount on $300 for 90 days (no grace) at 10 percent.
9. What is the cost of a square farm at $15 per acre, the distance of which is 640 rods?
10. Write a Bank Check, a Promissory Note, and a Receipt

The Ancient said...

U.S. History (Time, 45 minutes)
1. Give the epochs into which U.S. History is divided
2. Give an account of the discovery of America by Columbus
3. Relate the causes and results of the Revolutionary War.
4. Show the territorial growth of the United States
5. Tell what you can of the history of Kansas
6. Describe three of the most prominent battles of the Rebellion.
7. Who were the following: Morse, Whitney, Fulton , Bell , Lincoln , Penn, and Howe?
8. Name events connected with the following dates: 1607, 1620, 1800, 1849, 1865.

Orthography (Time, one hour)
1. What is meant by the following: alphabet, phonetic, orthography, etymology, syllabication
2. What are elementary sounds? How classified?
3. What are the following, and give examples of each: trigraph, subvocals, diphthong, cognate letters, linguals
4. Give four substitutes for caret 'u.' (HUH?)
5. Give two rules for spelling words with final 'e.' Name two exceptions under each rule.
6. Give two uses of silent letters in spelling. Illustrate each.
7. Define the following prefixes and use in connection with a word: bi, dis-mis, pre, semi, post, non, inter, mono, sup.
8. Mark diacritically and divide into syllables the following, and name the sign that indicates the sound: card, ball, mercy, sir, odd, cell, rise, blood, fare, last.
9. Use the following correctly in sentences: cite, site, sight, fane, fain, feign, vane , vain, vein, raze, raise, rays.
10. Write 10 words frequently mispronounced and indicate pronunciation by use of diacritical marks
and by syllabication.

Geography (Time, one hour)
1 What is climate? Upon what does climate depend?
2. How do you account for the extremes of climate in Kansas ?
3. Of what use are rivers? Of what use is the ocean?
4. Describe the mountains of North America
5. Name and describe the following: Monrovia , Odessa , Denver , Manitoba , Hecla , Yukon , St. Helena, Juan Fernandez, Aspinwall and Orinoco
6. Name and locate the principal trade centers of the U.S. Name all the republics of Europe and give the capital of each..
8. Why is the Atlantic Coast colder than the Pacific in the same latitude?
9. Describe the process by which the water of the ocean returns to the sources of rivers.
10. Describe the movements of the earth. Give the inclination of the earth.

Notice that the exam took FIVE HOURS to complete.

Andrew Stevens said...

4. Give four substitutes for caret 'u.' (HUH?)

Don't know if the "Huh?" is yours or the website's. But caret 'u' refers to phonetic spellings and the questions is asking for four letter combinations which could make that sound.

Anyway, see this link for a response I agree with.

The Ancient said...

Andrew --

I agree with some of what's at Snopes, though not all of it.

But imagine the poor fellow who graduated from eighth grade in Salinas and moved with his parents to New Jersey?

http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/quizzes/highschool_test.cfm

 
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