Wednesday, April 1, 2009

ADP/Achieve Algebra I Practice Test Now Online! Links, Discussion...

This is not an April Fool's joke! As anticipated and mentioned previously on this blog, a complete practice test is now available for you to download in pdf format from the Achieve web site. Click on the bottom link on the right sidebar.

Student expectations are shown above (you may need to click the image to see a larger version).

From the site:

The ADP Algebra I End-of-Course Exam consists of algebraic topics which will be taken by students across all participating states. These topics are typically taught in an Algebra I course, and fall into four strands: 1) Operations on Numbers and Expressions 2) Linear Relationships 3) Non-linear Relationships and 4) Data, Statistics and Probability.

Composition of Test

47 operational items

  • 40 multiple-choice (1 pt ea)
  • 5 short answer ( 2 pts ea)
  • 2 extended response (4 pts ea)
I'm not permitted to reproduce any of the questions here but I will enumerate some of the topics tested:
Identifying linear functions (y = 2x vs. y = 2x vs. y = 2x2)
Choosing effective data displays
Absolute value graphs
Rationalizing denominators in radical expressions (square roots only)
Exponential functions (simple)
Graphical interpretation of systems of equations

For further discussion, click Read more below.

and some more...
Solve quadratic equation by factoring
Graph of linear inequality
Probability of independent events
Determine vertex of graph of a quadratic function
Interpretation of slope from problem situation (rate of change)
Solving linear equations
Identifying irrational numbers (square root form)
Multiplication of radical expressions
Solving absolute value equations

Download the entire document to see examples of the multiple-choice, short answer and extended response type questions. This should prove very useful for teachers and students as they prepare for the first administration of this test. From the partial listing of topics above you can see that this is a test reflecting an ambitious first year algebra curriculum which will surely raise the bar for those states and districts participating. I would expect most students will struggle the first time around with the content, format and a level of difficulty they may not have yet experienced. Over time and with experience students should perform at higher and higher levels. This is a learning experience for all of us and it should be viewed as an opportunity to be part of an exciting change in American mathematics education...

Additional Comments
  • Even if your district is not participating, this test is an excellent way to measure your Algebra curriculum against a highly regarded world-class standard. I strongly encourage you to include these sample questions in warmups, for classroom discussion or review for other assessments.
  • As nontraditional or difficult as some of the earlier problems may appear to be, read through the entire sample test. You will definitely see many traditional algebra exercises with which your students should feel comfortable.
  • Problem 31 is an interesting application of the Pythagorean Theorem and quadratic equations. Some students have a knack for guessing 'special' right triangles for these however. After discussing the algebra, remind them to consider multiples of 3-4-5. Since the legs differ by 4, it's worth trying sides of 3x4 and 4x4, then checking if the hypotenuse works. It does!
  • The test reflects an excellent blend of tradfitional and reform. The extended response and short answer questions should have a definite impact on instruction and assessment in your classes whether or not your district is on board with this test. Ultimately, I predict EVERY state will be on board!

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