Calculators and the Basic Skills Test in Mathematics

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					                                Calculators and the
                          Basic Skills Test in Mathematics

How is the Basic Skills Test (BST)            What will be scored on the test?
for math different in 2004?                   Which questions are scored depends on
It is still a test of the basic skills in     what grade the student is in.
mathematics. But it has a new item type.
Students starting 8th grade in 2003-04                                         Does it count in the
now have a second kind of question they
                                              Question         Number of                  Grades
must answer without using a calculator:                                        Grade 8
                                              Type             Questions                    9-12
computation. Students in grades 9-12 will     Estimation*          10            YES           YES
take the same test, but they are not
scored on these questions.                    Computation*          7            YES            NO

                                              Other                58            YES           YES

Why is the test different?                    Field Test**          9             NO            NO
The Minnesota Legislature changed the         *Estimation and Computation are non-calculator
BST rules in 2001 to include non-             questions.
calculator computation questions starting     **Field questions are used to create future tests.
in 2004. It wanted to include these types
of items when testing basic skills.
                                              Do all students take the same test?
                                              Yes. To reduce confusion and costs,
How many more questions are                   everyone takes the same test. But the
there?                                        non-calculator computation questions
We have added seven non-calculator            (and field test items, of course) will not
questions to the test. But we were able to    count for students in grades 9-12.
make other changes to the test so it is
only four questions longer.
                                              What is a passing score on the
What kinds of math operations are             The passing score is still the same: a
in these non-calculator questions?            scale score of 600. But which questions
Each question will require only one type of   are counted depends on a student’s grade
operation:                                    as explained above.
   • addition,
   • subtraction,
   • multiplication, or                       Who can answer other questions?
   • division.                                1.   Your child’s math teacher
                                              2.   Your building principal
Students may see these kinds of numbers       3.   Your district testing coordinator
in the questions:                             4.   Minnesota Department of Education –
     • whole numbers                               Division of Assessment & Testing
                                                   Ø Matt Malay,
     • fractions
                                                       BST Coordinator,
     • decimals
     • integers                                    Ø Rosemary Heinitz,
     • percents                                        Math Content Specialist,
     • ratios                                          651.582.8836
     • proportions

                                                                                      Revised 12/17/2003
                                                                        Division of Assessment & Testing