# 2016 PSAT: Two Math No Calc Questions Omitted

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It seems that only 15 of the 17 questions on the Math No Calculator section of the 2016 PSAT were scored.  Questions 4 and 17 did not get scored with the following annotation on each:

The statistical analysis of this question led to a determination that it did not perform as intended. As a result, the question will not be scored and is identified as â€œunscorableâ€ on reports.

I'm not exactly sure what that means, but I am a bit surprised to see any unscorable questions, let alone two.  For many students, dropping question 17 would help their overall score, but not DS17: he does 14->17 then 1->13.

We haven't retrieved the books from the school yet, but I will be interested to see what these questions look like when we do.

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That's odd. They were graded on my ds's.  Maybe he took a different version. His was a Sat. PSAT.

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That's odd. They were graded on my ds's.  Maybe he took a different version. His was a Sat. PSAT.

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We won't be able to pick up our booklets until the 21st.  Grrr.  But we are very interested in looking at those questions, too.

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My son took it on a Wednesday and those questions were graded and not omitted.  His report says he omitted two which is correct; he did not do the last two questions of the test.

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My dd was able to see her exam questions online with her responses.  Wow, I would have LOVED being able to see how my tests were scored.  Now I can understand all the memes and reddit jokes, especially the one about they lady waiting for her photography teacher, since dd missed one of those and she wanted to see if I could puzzle it out.

Yeah, she also mentioned the 2 questions that weren't graded for whatever reason.

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Question 4:

The expression 3x2 + 12x2y2 + 6x4 is equivalent to which of the following?

A)  (6x2 + y)2

B)  (6x2 + y)(x - 3)

C)  x(3 + 12y2 + 6x2)

D)  3x2(1 + 4y2 + 2x2)

___________________________________________________________

For the life of me, I cannot see what could be wrong with this question.

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Question 17:

4x - 9 = -y

2x = 3y - 5

According to the system of equations above, what is the value of y ?

_________________________________________________________

Again, where is the problem?  Too many fractions?

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^ My first guess regarding the "unscorable" problems was that they were possibly released somewhere else or compromised in that way? They are valid math problems.

(I reference the College Board's history with the May SAT as well as last summer's huge typo on the June exam.)

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DS17 is annoyed about the two problems being dropped since he got them right (AFAWCT).

Anyone want to check him on question 17:

Question 17:

4x - 9 = -y

2x = 3y - 5

According to the system of equations above, what is the value of y ?

What he wrote in his booklet:

1) y = -4x + 9

2) 2x = 3y - 5

2x = 3(-4x + 9) - 5

2x = -12x + 27 -5

14x = 22

x = 11/7

1) y = -4(11/7) + 63/7

y = -44/7 + 63/7

y = 19/7

Assuming he coded 19/7 properly, that looks correct to me.  I suppose he could have saved a bit of time by doing this instead:

y = -2(2x) + 9

y = -2(3y - 5) + 9

y = -6y + 10 + 9

7y = 19

y = 19/7

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Too many got them right? Too many got them wrong? Not the right people getting them correct? They thought more would get them right than did? (I'm interpreting from the wording of their 'unscorable' note and not the questions themselves. I think Question 4 is a perfectly valid question.)

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^ That's what I got, too (I "stacked and added").

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Question 17:

4x - 9 = -y

2x = 3y - 5

According to the system of equations above, what is the value of y ?

_________________________________________________________

Again, where is the problem?  Too many fractions?

I might have asked:  "What value of y satisfies the system of equations?"

Maybe too many students were putting down the answer for x?

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Maybe students didn't properly code it? Or they tried to find a decimal equivalent?

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Too many got them right? Too many got them wrong? Not the right people getting them correct? They thought more would get them right than did? (I'm interpreting from the wording of their 'unscorable' note and not the questions themselves. I think Question 4 is a perfectly valid question.)

Those are exactly the ideas I had:  Too many got question 4 correct and too many got question 17 wrong (or didn't answer it).

I might have asked:  "What value of y satisfies the system of equations?"

I, too, found the wording to be a bit weird.  OTOH, I found the wording of question 6 to be even more odd.

Maybe too many students were putting down the answer for x?

That's exactly what DD14 did.  But she got it wrong.  :tongue_smilie:

Maybe students didn't properly code it? Or they tried to find a decimal equivalent?

That's an interesting idea.  It's doubtful that many students would try to code this as a decimal since it's in the "no calculator" section.

But there is a real possibility that some students may have tried to code it as a proper fraction.  How would you code "2 5/7"?

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^ When I help kids review for the SAT, we go over the idea of keeping improper fractions in their improper form, because if you DO try to code in 2 5/7, it goes in as 25/7, and will indeed be counted wrong. That has never been a concern of the College Board's before, though.

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