clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Just guessing can produce passing test scores, a teacher finds

One interpretation of rising pass rates on state math and reading tests is that the tests have grown easier. But are they so easy that students can earn a passing score without showing that they know anything at all?

The answer is yes, at least sometimes, writes teacher Diana Senechal in the GothamSchools community section. Senechal conducted an experiment to test whether guessing alone could yield a 2, the lowest passing score. She writes:

I first tried my experiment with the sixth grade ELA test. I “guessed” all the answers on the multiple-choice portion and left the written portions blank. Or, rather, I didn’t “guess,” but filled in the answers as follows: A, B, C, D, A, B, C, D, and so on, all the way through the 26 questions. I didn’t read one of them. …

… I got a 2 without looking at a single test question or writing a single word.

Read Senechal’s entire column for a more detailed explanation of her experiment and its results.

The COVID-19 outbreak is changing our daily reality

Chalkbeat is a nonprofit newsroom dedicated to providing the information families and educators need, but this kind of work isn't possible without your help.

Sign up for the newsletter Chalkbeat New York

Sign up for our newsletter.