The St Paul Pioneer Press recently published a sample test for the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment II. The MCAII Sample Test covers grades 3-11.
Reading: The reading selections appear to be all actual newspaper articles. Check out the 3rd grade selections on pages 3-4. Does your 3rd grader have the background knowledge and the reading ability understand an article entitled "Of 1200 Toys Tested For Lead, 35 Percent Had Lead: Coalition Releasing Consumer Guide Today"? "The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a level of 40 ppm of lead as the maximum that should be allowed in children's products..." Not to mention how much sleep your child is going to lose if she does happen to understand it! And I always thought newspaper articles were aimed at the 8th grade level. Silly me.
Math: The typical potpourri of too many topics, heavy emphasis on probability and patterns, and advanced topics before the basics are mastered. Pick a page at random and see if you can tell what grade level it is. A closer look reveals some real zingers. For example, check out problem 9 in the 5th grade section on page 29. You see a visual of two pies. The apple pie is divided in to 5 pieces and 3 are shaded. The peach pie is divided into 4 pieces and 3 are shaded.
You are instructed to "[u]se the figures" to answer the question.
The question: Raphael's mom made 2 pies for the family. If they ate 3/5 of the apple pie and 3/4 of the peach pie, how much more peach pie was eaten than apple pie?
Great question...um, as long the visuals are omitted! Can someone tell me how the pictures can be used to solve this problem? Seriously, I'd love to know. They seem to me to actually obstruct any thought process that might lead to the correct answer.