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September 20, 2014

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Test your Common Core skills

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Sam Morris

Students study math at Canyon Springs High School.

About 44,000 students across Nevada piloted a new standardized test this spring.

The test is computer-based and was harder than previous assessments, according to officials. It is aligned to Common Core State Standards, with questions that get harder as students answer more correctly.

Adopted by 44 states, Common Core is a set of academic standards that outline English and math concepts that students from kindergarten to high school must master. The program also is highly controversial.

Proponents say clear, rigorous and uniform standards will help students become better critical thinkers and problem solvers who can compete in a global economy. Critics, however, argue that Common Core represents a federal takeover of education and have protested the new standards, proposed curricula and tests.

In Clark County, about 32,000 students, third through eighth grades at 141 schools, took the Common Core test. This year was a practice run, so results won’t count, and grades will not be affected by scores.

1: A square, with side length "s", has an area of 324 square centimeters. This equation shows the area of the square: s2 = 324. What is the side length of the square in centimeters?

2: Six friends are going to buy pizza. Their choices are to buy 2 medium 10-inch diameter pizzas for $7 each, or 1 large 14-inch diameter pizza for $15. Both prices include tax and tip. The friends agree that their best choice is the one that gives them the most pizza for their money. Which is the best choice? Explain your answer.

3: Read the text, and complete the task that follows.

Cellphones in school — Yes or No? Cellphones are convenient and fun to have. However, there are arguments about whether or not they belong in schools. Parents, students and teachers all have different points of view. Some say that to forbid them completely is to ignore some of the educational advantages of having cellphones in the classroom. On the other hand, cellphones can interrupt classroom activities, and some uses are definitely unacceptable. Parents, students and teachers need to think carefully about the effects of having cellphones in school.

Some of the reasons to support cellphones in school:

-- Students can take pictures of class projects to e-mail or show parents.

-- Students can text message missed assignments to friends who are absent.

-- Many cellphones have calculators or Internet access that could be used for assignments.

-- If students are slow to copy notes from the board, they can take pictures of the missed notes and view them later.

-- During study halls, students can listen to music through cellphones.

-- Parents can get in touch with their children and know where they are at all times.

-- Students can contact parents in case of emergencies.

Some of the reasons to forbid cellphones in school:

-- Students might send test answers to friends or use the Internet to cheat during an exam.

-- Students might record teachers or other students without their knowledge. No one wants to be recorded without giving consent.

-- Cellphones can interrupt classroom activities.

-- Cellphones can be used to text during class as a way of passing notes and wasting time.

Based on what you read in the text, do you think cellphones should be allowed in schools? Using the lists provided, write a paragraph arguing why your position is more reasonable than the opposing position.

4: One sentence in the paragraph contains an error in grammar. Read the paragraph and the directions that follow.

Sheila and Desmond began their new jobs at a local bakery. After showing them around the store, the owner told them not to eat while working behind the counter. Sheila, with a cupcake frosted with vanilla icing, watched Desmond stuff his mouth. Just then, the owner came in, saw what had happened and fired Desmond. Type the incorrect sentence, correcting the error in grammar.

5: Look at these numbers: √2, √3, √5, √7

Classify the numbers by selecting all that apply:

-- Integer

-- Irrational

-- Rational

-- Real

6: A 13-foot ladder is leaning on a tree. The bottom of the ladder is on the ground at a distance of 5 feet from the base of the tree. The base of the tree and the ground form a right angle. Enter the distance, in feet, between the ground and the top of the ladder.

7: Joe solved this linear system correctly.

6x+3y=6

y=-2x+2

These are the last two steps of his work.

6x-6x+6=6

6=6

Which statement about this linear system must be true?

A. x must equal 6

B. y must equal 6

C. There is no solution to this system

D. There are infinitely many solutions to this system

8: Enter the quotient.

3125 / 25

9: Tyler is 8 years old. His sister Olivia is 4 years less than twice his age. Write a numerical expression for Olivia’s age.

ANSWERS: 1. 18 centimeters // 2. The two medium pizzas, because they have a larger combined surface area than the large pizza, which costs more. // 3. Correct answer must state clear arguments supporting one position. // 4. Sheila watched Desmond stuff his mouth with a cupcake frosted with vanilla icing. // 5. Irrational and real // 6. 12 // 7. D // 8. 125 // 9. (8 x 2) - 4 = 12

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