Minister orders report on 'too hard' maths exam

Minister orders report on 'too hard' maths exam

"It's not super-major. It's not like the issues we had a year ago where one of the questions was impossible, but for a national exam you would expect better", he said.

One question provided a diagram of a rope swing in the shape of a parabolic curve and asked students to calculate the distance between the holes in the seat of the swing, given other key measurements.

Education Minister Chris Hipkins has ordered a full report on the maths exam, telling the Herald he was concerned it was "not the first time" a maths exam had hit trouble.

She said changes in the format of the exam and the types of questions that would be asked were flagged with teachers.

One Auckland teacher said pupils were angry and upset they couldn't solve problems in the geometry paper, believing it was missing vital angle information in questions.

"At my school we were exposed to the new style of the Tables, Equations paper during our practice exams so we did expect the paper to be like how it was, however geometric reasoning was very bad".

"The fact that this exam may be reflected or may be seen by my future university applications is just hard to think about. this exam may well determine whether or not I can pursue medicine as a have two not achieves [sic] on my report is not the ideal application".

They said a mid-year level-1 exam was too hard, and an end-of-year level-3 exam included an error that made a question impossible to answer.

But NZQA deputy chief executive Kristine Kilkelly said the authority was still "confident in the quality of the Level 1 Mathematics examination".

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All NCEA assessments were aligned to the standard and the New Zealand Curriculm.

The statement goes on to say the examination was featured in workshops for maths teachers earlier in the year.

Teachers graded the exam a fail and were yesterday drafting an open letter of complaint to the NZ Qualifications Authority and the Ministry of Education, giving critical analysis of the three papers deemed too tough.

All three papers - Tables, Equations and Graphs, Geometric Reasoning and Chance and Data - have come in for criticism and some are calling the exam a disaster.

This is the second year in a row that the authority has struck problems with maths exams.

The NCEA Level 1 maths exam was held across the country on Monday.

She said most of New Zealand's Year 11 students should not have struggled this much with a maths exam and hoped NZQA realised there was obviously something wrong given the widespread backlash.

Kāpiti College head of maths Jake Wills said Level 1 students should know how to answer the question when the values involved could be "factorised", or broken into numbers that produced the values when multiplied together.

NZQA has been approached for comment.


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