There is really very little as frustrating to me as when a child clearly knows his or her stuff and yet falls short on an assessment. This is just one simple and recent example of a really bright child who was not able to effectively show what he or she knows and is able to do. It seems to me, by examining the above work that this child can determine whether a number is prime or composite. The child is able to provide combinations beyond one and the number itself as proof that numbers like 46 and 77 are composite. The student determined that 31 was prime and stated, "I can only find 1x31." Yet, when asked about the numbers 2 and 23 this child gives good mathematical proof for each being prime and then goes on to circle prime AND composite!
The sane math teacher in me knows that this kid understands the difference between prime and composite. The child has demonstrated a working knowledge of prime and composite and can use mathematical proof to back up each mathematical decision made. Only this kid is nine. Nine year olds can be inattentive meatballs who do inexplicable things when taking assessments. They really can be meatballs. The sane and logical teacher in me gets this. The sane and logical teacher will have a conversation with this kiddo. I'll open by asking whether this kiddo if numbers can be both prime and composite. I'm betting that the answer will be no. I'm really hoping. I'll point out the error and talk about the importance of being precise in mathematics and attending to detail. I owe it to this kid to explain that while I can tell that the understanding is intact, the actual work, if taken as a stand alone, might leave a teacher wondering whether there is confusion. Big picture, the math teacher is not worried about this kid and what he or she knows and is able to do.
But... I swear, this is the stuff that makes me crazy when I think of that four letter acronym...MCAS! I know that this is not an isolated problem. The nine and ten years who I adore teaching do this kind of thing all the time. I always address it. I even take off "credit" so that my students might be motivated to be more careful. Generally, they're not. I'm at a loss. I get a little cranky about it when I allow myself to think of these stupid MCAS scores as MY scores, which I do. I don't blame the nine and ten year olds. Still, this 25 year veteran teacher who already spends too much precious teaching time teaching test-taking skills is at a loss.
I hate MCAS. Truth.