As a 7th grader, could you have solved these? And how about now?

Do you realize how DIFFICULT the problems are on today’s 7th-grade PARCC-style standardized tests?

Take a look at this handful of questions, and feel free to look at others. If you compare these to the typical 7th-grade standardized test items from 30 or 40 years ago, you will have to conclude that these items asked these days are **much** more difficult than the ones from the past.

I strongly doubt that the folks who wrote these items, and those who are putting these items on the tests that nearly every 7th grader in the USA has to take, could have solved these when they were 7th graders?

And how many of my readers can solve these now, as adults?

Here are just a few:

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. As a child I never did well on standardized tests. When I was seven, back in the early 1950s, so called experts told my mother I was so retarded I’d never learn to read and write. Years later after I had earned three college degrees, I figured out I had a bad case of dyslexia making learning a lot harder than most people without dyslexia.

    Now, we know “Dyslexia affects 20 percent of the population and represents 80–90 percent of all those with learning disabilities. It is the most common of all neuro-cognitive disorders.”

    I’m closing in on 80, and I still don’t do well on timed, standardized tests that most if not all of OUR children are forced to take.

    Yet, knowing that hasn’t stopped standardized testing and blaming teachers when children don’t answer questions correctly like these examples.

    Oh, I guess by now anyone reading this comment knows that I can read and write. I’ve also written, revised, edited and published several indie books on Amazon. One of them is a public school teacher’s memoir, and here’s one of the reviews for that one.

    “Readers who envision eager students lapping up learning led by a Tiger Teacher will be disappointed. Lofthouse presents us with grungy classrooms, kids who don’t want to be in school, and the consequences of growing up in a hardscrabble world. While some parents support his efforts, many sabotage them—and isolated administrators make the work of Lofthouse and his peers even more difficult. Throughout this journal, though, Lofthouse seems able to keep the hope alive that there’s a future for each student that doesn’t include jail—thanks in large part to his sixth period journalism class and its incredible editor, Amanda.” – Bruce Reeves

    My first indie published historical fiction has 437 ratings/reviews on Amazon with a 4.3 out of 5 star average. That one has been sold and/or downloaded on Amazon more than 60,000 times.

    The most recent novel came out last July and it’s 100th review/rating yesterday. That suspense thriller has a 4.2 out of 5 star average and has sold more than 1,000 copies since it was released.

    If I say so myself, not bad for someone that has done poorly on standardized tests his whole life and was told as a child he’d never grow up to read and write.

    I think a few people with too much power and money are judging the future of OUR children based on standardized tests our children should have never been forced to take.


  2. As a former, consultant standardized (science) test writer, it must be noted that test items are always a direct reflection of the specific standards they were written for. So, overly challenging or developmentally inappropriate test items like these are always the product of overly challenging or developmentally inappropriate standards.

    Bottom line, bad standards will always result in bad tests. The only way to fix the tests is to fix the standards. Common Core math and ELA standards have produced tests that are more akin to academic death traps than any reasonable attempt to assess basic skills and knowledge.

    Side note: If you want to prove that 12-year-old students can’t do math, just require multi-step problem solving.


    • I agree!

      The ‘Common Core’ standards are written for a tiny percentage of the average student body in any country that I know of. Here is an excerpt of one of the 7th grade math standards:

      Solve word problems leading to equations of the form px + q = r and p(x + q) = r, where p, q, and r are specific rational numbers. Solve equations of these forms fluently. Compare an algebraic solution to an arithmetic solution, identifying the sequence of the operations used in each approach. For example, the perimeter of a rectangle is 54 cm. Its length is 6 cm. What is its width?
      Solve word problems leading to inequalities of the form px + q > r or px + q < r, where p, q, and r are specific rational numbers. Graph the solution set of the inequality and interpret it in the context of the problem. For example: As a salesperson, you are paid $50 per week plus $3 per sale. This week you want your pay to be at least $100. Write an inequality for the number of sales you need to make, and describe the solutions."


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