Good thing the state is up for that school funding, because these kids look like they need all the help they can get. On this year's state math exams—administered to students in the 3rd through 8th grades in order to advance to the next grade—many students were given partial credit for bad math, wrong answers and even writing no answer at all.
According to the Post, the scoring guidelines are based on "holistic rubrics," requiring that a student be given credit if they prove that they partially understand the concepts, even if they get the answer wrong. Because god forbid the kids get held back; it might hurt their feelings! Here are some maddening examples:
- Writing that 28 divided by 14 equals 4 instead of 2 gets partial credit if the student uses the right method.
- Setting up a division problem to find one fifth of $400 but not solving the problem gets half credit.
- A kid who writes 75 - 57 = 15 gets half credit.
- Writing 35 x 10 = 150 warrants half credit.
Teachers are outraged, saying the scoring lets children advance to the next grade without the proper math skills. One Brooklyn teacher said, "The kids who really need the help are just being shuffled along to the next grade without the basic skills to have true success. They are given a hollow success—that's the crime of it. The state DOE is doing a disservice to its children." Those extra points can also mean a lot, since the number of points required to pass proficiency levels has reportedly dropped in the past few years. The DOE is withholding scores until July, and will set their own "promotional cut scores" to determine which children get held back.