City-Data Forum Sample questions from the 8th grade Texas STAAR test (elementary school, grades, science)
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02-03-2019, 12:45 PM
 2,246 posts, read 3,498,894 times Reputation: 4120

Remember, this test needs questions of sufficient difficulty to differentiate between 98 percentile an 99 percentile. They are not expecting every student to breeze through every question with the right answer.

BTW - the first two were easy. 18 months and 13. I did those in my head with no paper or pencil. The first question uses Simple Annual Interest, no compounding or monthly payments. 18 months is 1.5 years. 1.5 times 4.25% is 6-3/8% interest. The only other choice worth checking is 24 months, but that is 2 times 4% or 8% interest. 6-3/8 is less than 8, so the 18 month option has the lowest total interest. Note: you can ignore the \$2500 data point completely as the question is not asking for the dollars of interest charged.

Last edited by MI-Roger; 02-03-2019 at 01:01 PM..

02-04-2019, 06:50 PM
 5,463 posts, read 3,035,144 times Reputation: 4874
Quote:
 Originally Posted by MI-Roger Remember, this test needs questions of sufficient difficulty to differentiate between 98 percentile an 99 percentile. They are not expecting every student to breeze through every question with the right answer. BTW - the first two were easy. 18 months and 13. I did those in my head with no paper or pencil. The first question uses Simple Annual Interest, no compounding or monthly payments. 18 months is 1.5 years. 1.5 times 4.25% is 6-3/8% interest. The only other choice worth checking is 24 months, but that is 2 times 4% or 8% interest. 6-3/8 is less than 8, so the 18 month option has the lowest total interest. Note: you can ignore the \$2500 data point completely as the question is not asking for the dollars of interest charged.
Also, when you learn test taking strategies you don’t have to calculate all 4 possible answers for each question Some typically “look” wrong and you discard them right away.

02-04-2019, 08:48 PM
 7,781 posts, read 8,611,522 times Reputation: 6034
Quote:
 Originally Posted by MI-Roger Remember, this test needs questions of sufficient difficulty to differentiate between 98 percentile an 99 percentile. They are not expecting every student to breeze through every question with the right answer. BTW - the first two were easy. 18 months and 13. I did those in my head with no paper or pencil. The first question uses Simple Annual Interest, no compounding or monthly payments. 18 months is 1.5 years. 1.5 times 4.25% is 6-3/8% interest. The only other choice worth checking is 24 months, but that is 2 times 4% or 8% interest. 6-3/8 is less than 8, so the 18 month option has the lowest total interest. Note: you can ignore the \$2500 data point completely as the question is not asking for the dollars of interest charged.
I agree with you. People/kids with any feel for math should blow through that question in ~10 seconds many without a pencil.

02-04-2019, 09:06 PM
 Location: Aurora Denveralis 5,577 posts, read 1,950,644 times Reputation: 8489
Quote:
 Originally Posted by markjames68 Also, when you learn test taking strategies you don’t have to calculate all 4 possible answers for each question Some typically “look” wrong and you discard them right away.
Ah, but some of them are right for the wrong question - so if you calculate volume instead of surface, there's a "right" answer to choose. Or if you simply invert axes, or make any other quick comprehension mistake - you get the warm glow of a "right" answer among the choices.

I had a stat professor who was a master at writing problems that could be correctly solved with three or four different methods... but only one was the right answer.

02-05-2019, 07:39 AM
 7,781 posts, read 8,611,522 times Reputation: 6034
Quote:
 Originally Posted by Quietude Ah, but some of them are right for the wrong question - so if you calculate volume instead of surface, there's a "right" answer to choose. Or if you simply invert axes, or make any other quick comprehension mistake - you get the warm glow of a "right" answer among the choices. I had a stat professor who was a master at writing problems that could be correctly solved with three or four different methods... but only one was the right answer.
Not math but I had a constitutional law professor, undergrad class, whose gag was A-H or sometimes A-I multiple choice questions with directions per section like, "choose the best three" or "choose the best and worst two" and on every test any question might have "all correct" or "all wrong" answers.

02-05-2019, 08:01 AM
 8,680 posts, read 3,378,920 times Reputation: 22096
Quote:
 Originally Posted by EDS_ Not math but I had a constitutional law professor, undergrad class, whose gag was A-H or sometimes A-I multiple choice questions with directions per section like, "choose the best three" or "choose the best and worst two" and on every test any question might have "all correct" or "all wrong" answers.
A teacher who does that really wants to ask short answer questions - like, "name the 3 states that allow . . .", but are too lazy to grade those tests.

That's an impossible standard, and likely each question could be correctly answered with a variety of responses.

02-05-2019, 10:39 AM
 3,880 posts, read 7,352,655 times Reputation: 4313
Quote:
 Originally Posted by EDS_ Not math but I had a constitutional law professor, undergrad class, whose gag was A-H or sometimes A-I multiple choice questions with directions per section like, "choose the best three" or "choose the best and worst two" and on every test any question might have "all correct" or "all wrong" answers.
Quote:
 Originally Posted by ClaraC A teacher who does that really wants to ask short answer questions - like, "name the 3 states that allow . . .", but are too lazy to grade those tests. That's an impossible standard, and likely each question could be correctly answered with a variety of responses.

In any other field, this would be ridiculous. From a lawyer, preparing future lawyers, it seems strangely fitting.

02-05-2019, 11:43 AM
 7,781 posts, read 8,611,522 times Reputation: 6034
Quote:
 Originally Posted by ClaraC A teacher who does that really wants to ask short answer questions - like, "name the 3 states that allow . . .", but are too lazy to grade those tests. That's an impossible standard, and likely each question could be correctly answered with a variety of responses.
This was class tailored for people who wanted to become lawyers. The class was ultra demanding (the most difficult non-STEM related class I've ever taken), fast paced and proved out to be very interesting. The prof. was anything but lazy. He offered every-other-week study sessions that were supposed to last an hour - he'd stay for 2 or 3 hours every time.

02-05-2019, 11:55 AM
 7,781 posts, read 8,611,522 times Reputation: 6034
Quote:
 Originally Posted by sll3454 In any other field, this would be ridiculous. From a lawyer, preparing future lawyers, it seems strangely fitting.
That was precisely his intent - to prepare people for law school or convince them to go elsewhere. To be honest the class was both brutal and awesome. After final drop day there was a lot more elbow room that's for sure.

02-05-2019, 02:15 PM
 998 posts, read 984,502 times Reputation: 1576
I got 9 out of 10 of those using nothing but my mind and what I remember from geometry class nearly 30 years ago, and the one I missed wasn't because of calculations (I didn't realize a "simple interest" savings account would only ever pay interest on the initial principal). Assuming the curriculum is structured to teach those types of problems, I don't see an issue with it.
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