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Caitlyn Mauck EDUC 316-01 February 10, 2014 Paper #2: Grade Five 2010 VA Math SOL Reflection

After completing the fifth grade math SOL, and thinking about my own sixth grade nephew, I feel like a lot of the questions could be tricky because of the wording the SOL test makers use. On the other hand, though, I also thought back to previous field experiences and worked on many of these topics with students who were in first, second, and third grade, so I imagine that the shifts in SOL expectations have been much larger than I had previously realized. While I was taking the SOL, I found myself thinking about how students would think through the questions and I thought about ways they might find an answer. Even though I got all of the questions right, I noticed several questions that may have tricked students. Some of the questions I felt were more difficult were mainly due to their vague or roundabout wording. There was a question that asked for the length and width of a rectangle based on the given perimeter and area of the shape. Knowing that I struggled with the reversal of those equations (knowing the area/perimeter and looking for the missing dimensions) until I was well into middle school and had explicit instruction in algebra. I also asked my nephew how he would solve the problem and he was at a complete loss. With this multiple choice test form, I think most students would just guess and check or work backwards from the answer choices until they found one that worked. Other problems that I felt were challenging at this level were asking for word problem examples of open sentences, such as 2x=6. Some of the answer choices were wordy and used examples of laundry, days of the week, how many loads, etc. made the answer choices confusing. There was also a division problem that was set up as a fraction 4083/40,

which I dont remember learning, again, until algebra in middle school. The question didnt ask for a quotient, but just had the fraction followed by an equal sign. There were some questions that I felt were lower than a fifth grade level, mostly because of my recent work with younger students who worked on the same concepts. For example, there were several questions that dealt with patterns such as a 1x1 cube, 2x2 cube, 3x3 cube, __________, and 5x5 cube that was seeking the missing cube. As long as students recognized that they were looking for a square, there was only one possible answer choice. Another question was about less than and greater than and included a decimal number. The question was looking for a statement that was true. Also, the concept of rounding to a specified place value was something I felt like fifth graders should have mastered in earlier grades because once they learn it for tens or hundreds, they can easily translate that into any place value.