City Council education chairman Robert Jackson was enraged over news that students were getting partial credit for wrong answers on the state math exams. The exams determine which students may advance to the next grade level, and many are worried students receiving partial credit would advance without the proper math skills to succeed. Jackson summed it up to the Post: "Two plus two equals four, not five. You have to get it right. If you are an engineer and you understand the process for determining the size of a building but you get it wrong, that building's going to be in trouble."
Though Schools Chancellor Joel Klein boasted that 82% of students passed the state math exams, many may be coasting through with partial credit points. Students received points for showing work, even if they got answers wrong. For instance, one student said a two foot skateboard was 48 inches long, but received credit for correctly adding 24 and 24. Another student got a point for setting up the division of 400 by 5, but didn't solve the equation.
Governor Paterson also chimed in on the situation, though his mind may have been elsewhere at the time. "You know, on a mathematics exam, you would get partial credit even if the answer was wrong. That's sometimes an educational tool. But I don't really know anything about it."