Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS), 2009

SourceTexas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS), Grade 7, 2009

Question:

2.  Mike got a 45% discount when he bought a new jacket.  Which of the following is NOT equivalent to 45%?

F   _9_
      20

G     4
       5

H   0.45


J    _45_
      100

Answer:  G


What Are The Flaws in This Question?

  1. Option H sticks out because it is the only option that is a decimal instead of a fraction.  So your eye goes immediately to it.  Also, if you need to do any calculations with 45%, you would first convert it to its decimal equivalent (0.45), not its fractional equivalent (45/100).  So your first reaction would be to choose this option.  However, the question asks which of the following is NOT equivalent to 45%.  A student may miss seeing the "NOT" and choose 0.45 because it sticks out.  That's why it's best to avoid using "NOT" questions.  They are often tricky because a student needs to choose the wrong answer.  They should be used only if the "NOT" helps test the concept, and the wrong choices are such that they will most likely not cause the students to miss the "NOT".
  2. There are too many concepts being tested, so if a student chooses the wrong answer, you don't know which concept the student got wrong.  One concept being tested is converting percents to decimal equivalents.  Another concept being tested is converting percents to fractional equivalents.  A third concept being tested is reducing fractions.
  3. The context, Mike's discount, is unnecessary and unengaging.  The question doesn't even mention it.  The context serves only to add to the reading load, which is particularly disadvantageous to special education students and English-language learners (ELL).


How to Fix This Question:

Omit the context, test only one concept, and remove the "NOT".  Here are two possible revised versions:

Revised Question - Version 1 (tests converting percent to decimal equivalent):

2.  Which of the following is equivalent to 45%?

F   0.045

G   0.45

H   4.5

J   45

Answer:  G

 

Revised Question - Version 2 (tests converting percent to fractional equivalent):

2.  Which of the following is equivalent to 45%?

F    _4_
       50

G    _45_
       100

H      4
        5

J    _45_
       10

Answer:  G