May 8, 2006

A black cat crossed my path today. It was lucky. It was lucky that my brakes were working, otherwise I would be paying someone $20 to wash cat guts off my car.

It's always better to be lucky than good. I believe this to be true in poker and sports. Not so when taking standardized tests.

I always teach kids that a random guess only gives them a 1 in 4 chance of getting the right answer. Even if they don't know the answer, by eliminating one or two of the choices, they can bring their chances up to 33% or 50%. During these state testing days at Adams Middle School, I have seen either some of the biggest believers in blind luck or possibily some of the smartest kids in the nation at work.

42 history questions in 9 minutes. 45 reading comprehension questions in 11 minutes. We're doing part one of the test today. Oh you finished part one and part two of the untimed test in 15 minutes? Of course, this partly explains why the school ranks so low and why so many seniors in the district are unable to pass the high school exit exam.

Jason has two 7th grade math classes, with about 30 kids in each class. Although we won't know the scores until August or so, I have placed over/under lines on how many kids will score Proficient or better on their math tests. 7th period is at 9, and 8th period is at 6.5. (He thinks there is no way that class will get 9. What confidence he shows in his students. I'm banking on the luck factor working in their favor.) Those seem low for a full class, but it's better than one of the 8th grade pre-algebra classes, where I am setting the Proficient or better line at 1.5.

What are the odds of randoming answering 80 multiple choice (ABCD) questions correctly?
A) 1 in 4
B) 1 in 100
C) goldfish
D) approx 1 in 1.46x10 to the 48th power

Tuesday is National Teacher Day.

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