CSET Math - how are the 2 sections weighed?

Discussion in 'Single Subject Tests' started by DancingBear, Jan 20, 2007.

  1. DancingBear

    DancingBear Rookie

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    OK, well I went into Subtest I today pretty certain that I wouldn't pass. I don't think I did, unless the multiple choice carries a good deal more weight in the final score than the open response. As expected, the open response was hard for me and on topics I hadn't studied yet. I only answered 1 question completely. Another one I answered partially, but I know it wasn't what they were looking for. The other 2 I didn't attempt at all. However, the multiple choice wasn't too bad. I tallied as I went along and it broke down like this:
    14 I was certain I got right
    8 that I think I made sense of, but I wasn't certain about
    8 that I had no clue about.

    So, the question is: did I fail for sure or is there any possible way I could have passed? Does anyone know exactly how the 2 parts are weighed? The CSET website doesn't say.

    I need to now take either Subtest I again or Subtest II for the first time in March, and I need all of the next 2 months to study for whichever one it will be. If I can be positive that I failed this one, then I'd like to just keep studying the same content and take Subtest I again in March and II in May. But if there's a slight chance that I passed, I will study for Subtest II now and wait for the scores.

    Does anyone (innovationguy) know exactly how the scores work?

    Thanks so much!
     
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  3. innovationguy

    innovationguy Cohort

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    Shorter version (?!):

    a) the weight of MCQ: FR is 70:30.

    b) it is customary for candidates to feel quite nervous & apprehensive upon exiting the exam hall - rare is the bloke that felt beastly good and distributed sweets in the neighbourhood...!

    c) even if one crunches the # [of correct vs. incorrect] and speculates upon getting a point here and losing some there, and employs arcane medieval algorithms to compute one's scores (?!), at the end of it all, the exercise is futile as I have lost count of the number of chaps whose whole demeanour was funereal till their upbeat scores belied their erstwhile temper! So, go about your business - preparing for Subtest II - like you passed. In the worst case, the results should be out in ~3-4 weeks and 1 month of conscientious lucubration [~3 hours / day] ought to suffice to offset the lacunae in Subtest I...

    d) there is little purpose to "being hard on oneself"! Verily, one might not have had enough time to prepare, domestic / professional constraints circumscribing one's freedom! Put it behind, and start anew, with a fresh ethic and humour towards the test!

    e) A sense of perspective helps: for a non-subject major taking a subject test, I would imagine the Single Subject Math tests to be among the hardest!

    So Cheer up, pip, pip! And all that, what!

    Jay.
    http://innovationguy.easyjournal.com

    PS. The passing score is 220 and a grievous misconception continues to bedevil innocent candidates: a score of 180 / 190 / 200 is not a terribly "close to passing score"! The scale is not constructed that way - I've known blighters that've got a score 219 about 4 times: clearly, the ignorance in 1 / more key concept areas was proving decisive!
     
  4. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    As to your PS, Jay: Could be ignorance of content, but even for CSET Math I suspect that there are better and worse ways to frame one's answer and show one's thinking. That is, there are probably mathematicianly ways to package the points one is trying to make and unmathematicianly ways, and, other things being equal, the unmathematicianly-looking answer is almost certain to be read more closely and critically than the mathematicianly one.
     
  5. innovationguy

    innovationguy Cohort

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  6. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Got any guidelines to share about the latter, O guru of us all?
     
  7. innovationguy

    innovationguy Cohort

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    O guru of us all? [?!!]

    Please. A mere understudy, a fumbling lackey, a maladroit serf, an undomesticated domestic, is what I am! Pardon my presumptuousness in quoting Mr. Newton but If I have seen further it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants...

    Anyway (?!), a common refrain for non-Math / science majors is indeed "I know the material, but I'm not sure I'm explaining it well / writing enough!"

    First, it's a smashing idea to mimic a textbook explanation / resolution of a problem as suggested by its examples!

    Next, from a piece I'd written awhile ago, here are my pointers in outline form! The details are here...

    How should Free Response Questions be written?

    Each Single Subject Math CSET Subtest contains 4 Free Response Questions, each of which is graded on the basis of the answer demonstrating the following 4 performance characteristics:

    * Purpose: the extent to which the response addresses the questions aim in relation to the relevant CSET Subject Matter requirements

    * Subject Matter Knowledge: The application of accurate Subject Matter knowledge as described in the relevant CSET Subject Matter requirements

    * Support: The appropriateness and quality of the supporting evidence in relation to the relevant CSET Subject Matter requirements

    * Depth and Breath of Understanding: The degree to which the response shows understanding of the relevant CSET Subject Matter requirements

    What does all this infernal gobbledygook (obtained from the CSET site!) actually mean?!

    Simply that as a prospective teacher, you must know

    a) the gamut of Math concepts being assessed on the CSET and the underlying skills to a considerable degree of proficiency

    b) the relevance of each problem, as well as problems of a higher calibre that the current question suggests

    c) real-world applications each question might indicate

    d) how to lucidly and elegantly demonstrate a)-c).

    Succinctly, then, while responding to Free Response questions, write in a manner you would employ to elucidate the problem to a student of appropriate ability.

    For instance, for the resolution of a Subtest I question, write out a detailed and exhaustive algorithm as if you were attempting to illuminate a fairly competent Precalculus student! Likewise, your Subtest II Free Response solutions should be geared to make it readily comprehensible to a reasonably smart student of Geometry / AP Statistics (as the case may be).

    Here are a few Tips and Pointers about writing your Free Response answers:

    1. Make an OUTLINE of your answer.

    2. Use English extensively!

    3. Define any variables (x. y, z, a, b, c, etc.) used.

    4. Do NOT take ANYTHING for granted.

    5. Explicitly state ANY Formulae, Theorems, Axiom / Postulates employed to validate a step in your work.

    6. If helpful, restate the problem as a statement that begins with "Objective:" or "Aim:" or "Required: " or "To Show That:" or "To Prove That:".

    7. State the answer in a complete sentence.

    8. Clearly label diagrams, tables, graphs, or other visual representations.

    9. Use technical language and appropriate Math terminology.

    10. Observe rules of grammar at all times! While you are NOT being assessed on the English, remember: effective communication is your goal here, so the writing should be clear and professional!

    11. Show steps on SUCCESSIVE lines.

    12. Don’t use “=” sign outside of a formula / equation.

    13. Use English Phrases to convey a logical flow.

    14. Break long explanations into several short paragraphs, each one with its own idea or step. Leave a blank line between paragraphs.

    15. After solving the problem, reread the explanation you've provided to ask 'Does It Make Sense?!'

    Finally, ask yourself:

    * Did you answer the right question?
    * Did you answer ALL parts of the question?
    * Does your explanation communicate what you were thinking?
    * Does it explain the math in a way that will help a novice comprehend how to solve the problem?

    Again, for reasons of space, the above is merely the outline of suggestions! Illustrations can be found here...

    Jay.
    http://innovationguy.easyjournal.com
     
  8. Malcolm

    Malcolm Enthusiast

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    As far as scores go, the only reasonably sure thing is what the passing scaled score of 220 equates to. It is going to be a certain percentage of the raw points, close to 67% for all three of the math subtests. The actual percentage varies from test to test a bit because no two forms of the test are of exactly the same difficulty, and NES factors that in. So, if you want an _idea_ of how you did, you can use that information. No information has been publish about what other scores mean. We have no idea of how NES maps other raw scores to scaled scores, but it certainly doesn't appear to be linear. 219 is a very common failing score. There apparently is a whole range of raw scores that maps to it.

    Like Jay said, math is weighted 70/30 MC/CR. We can _ballpark_ how you did. Let us use 1 point for each of the MC questions you are sure about, .5 point for those you weren't sure about (my assumption is you managed to eliminate a couple of the answers), and .25 point for the ones you were clueless on. That gives us (14 * 1 + 8 *.5 + 8*.25)/30*70% = 47% from MC. Let us be generous and give you a 4 for the CR question you answered completely and a 2 for the other one you answered and 0 for the other two. That gives us 6/16*30% = 11% from CR. The two sections sum to 58%, not enough to pass, assuming I did not make some grievous arithmetic error someplace. Your end result on the MC section could be better, though. Some of the MC questions are not scored because they are being tested. If the ones you missed were those ones, they won't affect your score. Am I positive you failed? No! Still, if your assessment of how you did is accurate, it looks grim.

    FWIW if I were in your place, I think I would work on preparing for Subtest 2 until I got my results from Subtest 1. Then I would make the decision as to what to take next. I think one month prep time would be sufficient for Subtest 1 if you wanted to retake it because you have already spend considerable time preping for it and certainly don't need as much time as for Subtest 2.

    Not answering a CR question at all, if you have time, is a strategic error. If you write anything at all relevant, it might be possible to pick up one of the four points. Writing nothing guarantees a zero.
     
  9. innovationguy

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  10. DancingBear

    DancingBear Rookie

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    Malcolm,
    Thanks for the detailed assessment! That's about what I figured, too. Regarding not answering the open response question at all, I totally realize it's better to put something vs nothing at all, which is what I did on one of the four, but I seriously had NOTHING relevant that I could write in 2 of them!!! Man, I was hoping they'd ask me to derive the quadratic formula or something.

    I just finished writing down everything I wanted to remember that I did not know on Subtest I, so I think I'll take everyone's advice and move on to studying for Subtest II so that I can take that in March. However, I wll not register for Subtest I again in March as well. One thing I saw yesterday was that I should only do one at a time. And I totally need more time than that to study. I teach elementary school, which leaves me very little energy at the end of the day, so studying every day becomes difficult and it mostly happens on the weekend.
     
  11. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    In addition, DancingBear, it's perfectly possible to change your registration as late as two weeks before the test date without penalty.

    Jay, you've called for lucid, grammatical English in the CSET Math constructed responses. If CSET Math requires full sentences and paragraphs, it's the only CSET outside of CSET English Subtest III (two essays) that does, to the best of my understanding. May we refine your advice as follows?

    - The test taker whose background is in math or engineering and/or whose inclination is simply to solve the question and leave it at that should make a point of using sentences and grammatical English as well and, overall, explaining the problem while solving it.

    - The test taker whose background is not in math or engineering and/or whose inclination is simply to explain the problem should make a point of using the formalisms of mathematics as well and, overall, solving the problem as a mathematician would as well as explaining it.

    Both camps should make a point of using the descriptive technical terminology of mathematics. Use of the appropriate technical terms is one of the classic means in other CSET exams to achieve high marks on the "knowledge" rubric, and I see no reason to believe that that won't work for CSET Math as well.
     
  12. innovationguy

    innovationguy Cohort

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    Amen to that!

    I strenuously debated the issue with, um, myself (?!) when I put that down [oh, and I won!]...but I shall concede the point. I didn't mean it to be consumed in the strictest sense, just that even Math teachers prefer proper grammar and spelling, and that it facilitates comprehension.

    [I imagine the more punctilious Math and Science teachers to be horrified when mangled English leads to conclusions contrary to what was intended to be conveyed!]

    The issue was communication, and I acknowledge that quite a few non-native English speakers take the test. And surely one shan't be penalized for awkward construction of phrases.

    Regarding writing English sentences as explanation / using phrases for logical flow, this is the sort of the thing I had in mind:

    Since 2 + i is a root of the equation, the other root must be 2 - i by the Complex Conjugates Theorem.

    Therefore, f(x) = (x - (2 - i))*(x - (2 + i))
    .

    Now, this kind of detail is what a regular textbook would carry, too! I've used apposite terminology ["root"] and referenced a Theorem ["Complex Conjugates Theorem"] in support of my work.

    And it's always a good idea to terminate the resolution of a problem by the statement of a "result":

    Q.E.D, or

    Thus, the proposition has been proven, or

    65% of voters support candidate A, or

    We have insufficient evidence at the 5% significance level to reject the Null Hypothesis that people like Coke and Pepsi equally.

    The roots of the function, f(x) are -1, 4 +6i and 4 - 6i.

    Jay.
    http://innovationguy.easyjournal.com
     
  13. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Ooops! I forgot that the word paragraph has a different extension for math people than it does for literature people.

    But it's always comforting to be agreed with by the genius loci.
     
  14. DancingBear

    DancingBear Rookie

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    I just wanted to follow up this post by saying that . . . I passed! Can you believe it? I'm still in shock!
     
  15. innovationguy

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    Splendid!

    Jay.
    http://innovationguy.easyjournal.com
     
  16. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    DancingBear, I'm going to give you homework:

    Look for reasons why you passed. And you may not cite "luck".

    Oh, and go celebrate properly, please.
     
  17. a00948019

    a00948019 Rookie

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    I took the Subtest I yesterday. It was Computer Based, so it turned out to have a limit of 120 minutes. I prepared on the assumption that the test would allow for the entire test session (4-5 hrs?). As far as the scoring, I answered 2 constructed responses fully, and I made a "labeling" mistake in the 3rd one, although I knew the entire thought process and philosophy of the problem was correctly handled. The 4th Constructed response problem I did not touch at all.
    Now in the MC section, I left 7 blank, since I literally ran out of time. I answered then only 23 MC questions. However the 7 that I missed were not from a single topic, that is, those 7 fall into a few "subsections." For instance, I left only 1 of number theory unanswered, and, from algebra, not all my blank ones were in determinants, or polynomial questions, and so on.
    Just sharing my experience, and also warning those taking one CBT subtest on the assumption that there will be a total of 5 hours. Make sure you really prepare, because you will be given only 120 minutes, just as if you took the three tests at once--you will have 120 minutes for each subtest (and you have to allocate time for the scanning; some scanners are funky.)
    I am absolutely uncertain about my score. The second subtest will be on April 6th, and the score report for Subtest I will be sent right on the 5th (one day before the appointment for Subtest II.)
    Thanks for reading!
     
  18. Scott71

    Scott71 Rookie

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    Good luck! Those test are brutal!
     
  19. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Welcome to A to Z, a00948019.

    The time limits do indeed work differently for the computer-based CSET Math than for the paper-based version: 120 minutes for each of Subtests I and II and 150 minutes for Subtest III. paper-based tests - but I would expect the test appointment duration to be on the test admission docs.

    It turns out that it doesn't matter whether one's missed questions are all in one topic or scattered: as long as one hits the magic 220 points on the scale from 100 to 300, one passes the subtest.
     
  20. a00948019

    a00948019 Rookie

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    Thanks, TeacherGroupie. Yeah, the magic 220 is a mistery!
     
  21. joeschmoe

    joeschmoe Companion

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    I took the math CSET before they went paperless. Are the computer-based ones exactly the same in terms of # of questions? And what is so "computer-based" about it? It sounds to me like you still work on paper except you now have to scan your documents.
     
  22. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Same number of questions, different time frame, joe. Most of the work is onscreen: one is clicking on radio buttons for the multiple choice and typing most of one's constructed responses, except for the few for which graphing or hand-drawn diagrams are required.
     
  23. mathmaestro

    mathmaestro Rookie

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    First time posting:

    I took the CSET 3 math in Jan 13 and I got 205. I ran out of time on the proofs. I didn't answer any of the proofs correctly. I took CSET 1 and 2 nine years ago and I though I had 4 hours.

    I took the test again yesterday and I did better. Hopefully I passed it. I feel confident that I got 20 out 30 multiple choice questions correct. I only guess on 5. The other 5 questions I was between 2 choices.

    As far as the open ended, I answered 2 out of the 4 correct. Hopefully I get full credit. For the other two, I got stuck but I tried them out.

    What do you think? 20 out of the 30 MC questions and 2 out 4 proofs correct. Will this give me the mysterious 220 points?

    I used a trig book, calculus book, paul online notes, history book, and the orange county book for this test.
     
  24. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    It could go either way, mathmaestro. The fact that partial credit is given on the constructed responses means that there's a possibility that you still wouldn't get full points on the two that you did complete but you might make it up with a few points on the two you didn't complete.
     
  25. joeschmoe

    joeschmoe Companion

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    20/30 and 2/4 sounds good. The other 2 questions on the open response, did you at least attempt to answer them partially?
     
  26. mathmaestro

    mathmaestro Rookie

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    Yes, I attempted to answered them. Basically on both, I couldn't come with the solution. I probably get 1 point for each one. So I'm probably get 8/9/10 out 16 on the proofs. I know I answer 20 out of 30 MC questions correct. Maybe I'll get lucky on 5 of the 10 that I didn't feel confident about.

    I'll get the results on May 3.
     
  27. a00948019

    a00948019 Rookie

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    Mathmaestro, how much time were you allowed? Was it paper-based test?
     
  28. TeacherGroupie

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    Anyone who has taken any CSET Math subtest since September 2013 has taken the computer-based version: that's the only version in which CSET Math is now offered.

    CSET Math is now packaged solely as three separate subtests. Subtest I (number theory, algebra) has a two-hour time slot (not counting the check-in and tutorial time), and so has Subtest II (geometry and statistics/probability); Subtest III is allotted two and a half hours (not counting the check-in and tutorial time).
     
  29. a00948019

    a00948019 Rookie

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    Mathmaestro, in your 205 score report, how did the MC/Proofs sections turn out to be? +, ++, or +++ ?

    Thanks!
     
  30. mathmaestro

    mathmaestro Rookie

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    I got a 3 on the MC and 1 on the Proofs. I beleieve I answered one proofs correct but I didn't give any explanation.

    This time around i think I answered more correct on the MC. On the proofs, I answered 2 correctly and I put some reasoning behing every step. On the other 2 proofs, I attempted them but I don't think I got the write answer. I couldn't get the soulution for one of them. The other proof i froze.
     
  31. a00948019

    a00948019 Rookie

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    Wow! Then the magic 220 does not seem to be any lenient.



    Thanks for the reply!
     
  32. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    On all CSET exams, the scorers do want to see support for the approach one takes: in a proof, for example, it's helpful to note what law or property justifies a given step. There's evidence from other CSETs that it's possible to get full points, or very nearly full points, for the unorthodox answer for which one has given compelling evidence.

    What doesn't matter is where exactly one picks up one's points. Strong constructed responses can carry the day for a test taker whose multiple choice results are not so good, and vice versa; similarly, a dazzling performance in one domain can help cover for an unimpressive result in the other.
     
  33. a00948019

    a00948019 Rookie

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    Does anyone know if some MC questions are weighted more points? On the CSET website I read that the scale score is calculated based on the NUMBER of CORRECT answers.

    However, the website does not state the possibility that FEWER, of HEAVIER weight, correct answers, yield MORE scale points than perhaps even MORE, of LESS weight, correct answers; so that a raw score, for instance, of 50% might be passing whereas a 64% raw score might not make it to the 220.

    I have the following information that was sent in my score report for CBEST:


    ++++ If you answered most of the questions correctly (scaled skill area score of 61–80)
    +++ If you answered many of the questions correctly (scaled skill area score of 41–60)
    ++ If you answered some of the questions correctly (scaled skill area score of 31–40)
    + If you answered few or none of the questions correctly (scaled skill area score of 20–30)


    Now, the CSET varies from 100 to 300, which adapting the above to the range of scale scores, we would have:

    ++++ If you answered most of the questions correctly (scaled skill area score of 251-300)
    +++ If you answered many of the questions correctly (scaled skill area score of 201-250)
    ++ If you answered some of the questions correctly (scaled skill area score of 151-200)
    + If you answered few or none of the questions correctly (scaled skill area score of 100-150)

    So, the 220 would be for those having +++.

    Thanks!
     
  34. a00948019

    a00948019 Rookie

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    Apr 5, 2013

    Just wanted to follow up saying that I passed Subtest I. Score report was sent in at 5 pm.
    Thanks to everyone who shared their experiences. It was very helpful.
     
  35. mathmaestro

    mathmaestro Rookie

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    Congrats. Can you share how many plus you received on the MC and Proofs?
     
  36. TeacherGroupie

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    Congratulations, a00948019!

    On all CSETs (and, for that matter, on all teacher tests of which I'm aware), questions are indeed differently weighted. One reason is that it's extremely challenging to write even two questions that are of exactly equivalent difficulty, let alone 30 questions or more. The second is that the goal with scaled scores is that each score that is just barely passing should represent the same level of achievement: that is, if two test takers on two different administrations of CSET Math both get exactly 220 points, they should be assumed to have shown the same level of proficiency in math even if one of them sees easier questions than the other does.
     
  37. a00948019

    a00948019 Rookie

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    This was the first time taking the test. It allowed 120 minutes, though I prepared for the test upon the assumption that I would be given 5 hours, just as for the CBEST, you will be given 4 hours regardless of how many sections (writing, math, or reading) you take at one sitting. It was not the case for the computer-based CSET Math. So I am preparing according to the 120 minute rule for Subtest II.

    So the breakdown goes as follows:

    MC questions:


    Algebra section: +++

    Number Theory: ++++

    Overall MC questions: +++

    Constructed Response Questions: ++

    Here I left one blank. I answered the other three. However I only got a "check mark / symbol" in one, whereas for each of the other two answered questions I got a letter "k," meaning that, out of the whole set of purposes, I needed improvement in

    k = Subject matter knowledge

    The following are the other criteria from which I was not given a letter:

    d = Depth and breadth of understanding
    s = Support
    p = Purpose

    Given that I did not receive any of those, one might conclude that either I did at or above the minimum in these criteria, or letter "k" was the area that needed the most improvement.
     
  38. TeacherGroupie

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    Apr 5, 2013

    Expect 120 minutes for Subtest II, yes.

    You can assume that you did at or above the minimum in p, s, and d. For the k, make a point of using the technical terminology of math where possible: that is, you want to come across like someone who could hold a conversation with a mathematician about the issue in the question and not sound hopelessly ignorant.
     
  39. mathmaestro

    mathmaestro Rookie

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    May 3, 2013

    Passed CSET 3 for Math

    I passed my math CSET 3. I was prepared better this time around plus the 30 minutes helped.

    Here is my break down on the MC:
    Calculus section: ++++

    History of Mathematics: +++

    Overall MC questions: ++++


    Here is my break down on the constructed responses:
    Constructed question #1: check
    Constructed question #2: p
    Constructed question #3: check
    Constructed question #4: p
    Overall Constructed Response Questions: ++

    I believe this test easier than CSET 1 and 2.

    Leo
     
  40. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    May 4, 2013

    Congratulations, mathmaestro!
     
  41. a00948019

    a00948019 Rookie

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    May 5, 2013

    Congratulations, Maestro de Matemáticas!

    Can you share some tips/resource materials to get prepared for the "History Portion" of the test?

    (So you had 120 minutes + 30 minutes ? )

    Thanks!
     

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