Qualitative Analysis of New Standards Reference Exam Content
Compared to that of the CorePlus Curriculum
The CorePlus curriculum focuses on four strands that are repeated across the different grade levels. These four strands are Algebra and Functions, Geometry and Trigonometry, Statistics and Probability, and Discrete (or Finite) Mathematics. Due to the nature of this “spiraling” curriculum, some of the topics for which students have been tested may have been introduced to them, but not to the degree that is required for them to successfully answer the questions. For example, algebra and skills related to it are stressed throughout the curriculum, but conceptual approaches to understanding algebra are focused on before writing equations. Consequently, questions that ask students to write equations are not appropriate for these students at this point. Students take the New Standards Reference Exam towards the end of the sophomore year. Equation writing skills are stressed more in the third and fourth years of the CorePlus curriculum.
Some questions on the New Standards Reference Exam deal with topics to which students have not yet been exposed. For example, Probability and Logic are two content areas not covered in the CorePlus curriculum until after students have taken the test. A unit on Probability is scheduled in CorePlus at the very end of the 10^{th} grade year, occurring soon after students have taken the New Standards Exam. Logic skills are developed in the CorePlus curriculum during the third and fourth years. Some topics that were not covered, such as Percentages, Measurement, Proportions, and Rates & Ratios are generally covered as part of a middle school’s curriculum, so it is appropriate that they not be included in CorePlus.
In terms of the alignment of content between the CorePlus curriculum and the New Standards Reference Exam, the most striking finding is how many content areas were covered in the CorePlus curriculum that were not tested. That is, students do not seem grossly unprepared for taking the New Standards Reference exam. However, they are prepared for a variety of topics and content areas for which they are not tested by this exam. The following tables outline the matches between the New Standards Reference Exam and the CorePlus curriculum, both at the global and itembyitem levels.
Tested Areas NOT Covered 
Covered Areas NOT Tested 
Covered Areas Which Were Tested 
Percentages 
Graph Models 
Patterns in Data 
Measurement 
Exponential Models 
Patterns of Change 
Probability 
Simulation Models 
Linear Models 
Logic 
Matrix Models 
Patterns in Space 
Equation Writing 
Patterns of Association 
Patterns of Location, Shape, and Size 
Proportions 
Power Models 

Rates & Ratios 
Network Optimization 

Note: These comparisons are based upon materials explicitly stated in the CorePlus curriculum. The extent to which these materials were actually covered in classrooms is not known.
Question 
Type 
Content Area 
Covered? 
If No, when? 
1 
MC 
Percents 
No 
Middle School 
2 
MC 
Algebra 
Yes 
Y 
3 
MC 
Algebra 
Yes 
Y 
4 
MC 
3d Geometry 
Yes 
Y 
5 
MC 
Interpretation of graphs 
Yes 
Y 
6 
MC 
Size transformation 
Yes 
Y 
7 
MC 
2d Geometry 
Yes 
Y 
8 
MC 
2d Geometry 
Yes 
Y 
9 
MC 
Measurement 
No 
Middle School 
10 
MC 
Coordinate graph 
Yes 
Y 
11 
MC 
Interpretation of graphs 
Yes 
Y 
12 
MC 
Percents 
No 
Middle School 
13 
MC 
Probability 
No 
End of Year 2 
14 
MC 
Probability 
No 
End of Year 2 
15 
MC 
Permutations 
No 
End of Year 2 
16 
MC 
Area under a curve 
Yes 
Y 
15 
MC 
Number line 
Yes 
Y 
18 
MC 
2d Geometry 
Yes 
Y 
19 
MC 
Logic 
No 
Years 3 & 4 
20 
MC 
Numerical reasoning 
Yes 
Y 
Question 
Type 
Content Area 
Covered? 
If no, When? 
1 
OE 
2d Geometry 
Yes 
Y 
2 
OE 
2d Geometry 
Yes 
Y 
3 
OE 
Algebra 
Yes 
Y 
4 
OE 
Algebra 
Yes 
Y 
5 
OE 
Equation writing 
No 
Year 3 
6 
OE 
Size transformations 
Yes 
Y 
7 
OE 
Proportions 
No 
Middle School 
8 
OE 
2d Geometry, Spatial 
Yes 
Y 
9 
OE 
2d Geometry, Spatial 
Yes 
Y 
10 
OE 
2d Geometry, Spatial 
Yes 
Y 
Form C—Long and
medium tasks
Question 
Type 
Content Area 
Covered? 
If no, When? 
1 
OE 
Probability 
No 
End of Year 2 
2 
OE 
Probability 
No 
End of Year 2 
3 
OE 
Algebra 
Yes 
Y 
4 
OE 
Equation writing 
No 
Year 3 
5 
OE 
Table reading 
Yes 
Y 
6 
OE 
Percents 
No 
Middle School 
7 
OE 
Percents 
No 
Middle School 
Form C—Short and long
tasks
Question 
Type 
Content Area 
Covered? 
If no, When? 
1 
OE 
Graph estimation 
Yes 
Y 
2 
OE 
Equation writing 
No 
Year 3 
3 
OE 
Number line 
Yes 
Y 
4 
OE 
Number line 
Yes 
Y 
5 
OE 
3d Geometry 
Yes 
Y 
6 
OE 
Algebra 
Yes 
Y 
7 
OE 
Algebra 
Yes 
Y 
8 
OE 
Equation writing 
No 
Year 3 
9 
OE 
Proportions 
No 
Middle School 
10 
OE 
Proportions 
No 
Middle School 
Question 
Type 
Content Area 
Covered? 
If no, When? 
1 
OE 
2d Geometry 
Yes 
Y 
2 
OE 
Algebra 
Yes 
Y 
3 
OE 
Interpretation of graphs 
Yes 
Y 
4 
OE 
2d Geometry 
Yes 
Y 
5 
OE 
2d Geometry 
Yes 
Y 
6 
OE 
Data analysis; scatterplots 
Yes 
Y 
7 
OE 
Data analysis; bestfit line 
Yes 
Y 
8 
OE 
Data analysis; outliers 
Yes 
Y 
9 
OE 
Size transformations 
Yes 
Y 
10 
OE 
Proportions 
No 
Middle School 
Form D—Short and long
tasks
Question 
Type 
Content Area 
Covered? 
If no, When? 
1 
OE 
Equation writing 
No 
Year 3 
2 
OE 
Interpretation of graphs 
Yes 
Y 
3 
OE 
2d Geometry 
Yes 
Y 
4 
OE 
2d Geometry 
Yes 
Y 
5 
OE 
Rates & Ratios 
No 
Middle School 
6 
OE 
Rates & Ratios 
No 
Middle School 
7 
OE 
Proportions 
No 
Middle School 
8 
OE 
Proportions 
No 
Middle School 
Form D—Long and short
tasks
Question 
Type 
Content Area 
Covered? 
If no, When? 
1 
OE 
Data Analysis; central tendency 
Yes 
Y 
2 
OE 
Data Analysis; central tendency 
Yes 
Y 
3 
OE 
2d Geometry 
Yes 
Y 
4 
OE 
3d Geometry 
Yes 
Y 
5 
OE 
3d Geometry 
Yes 
Y 
6 
OE 
Rates & Ratios 
No 
Middle School 
7 
OE 
Rates & Ratios 
No 
Middle School 