Are Florida’s Tests So Difficult?

Published September 1, 2000

Here are sample questions provided by for the eighth-grade Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test in math. produces practice tests used by school systems for various standardized exams.

As a reference point, it should be noted that the 1999 National Assessment of Educational Progress showed the following results for Florida’s eight-graders:

  • only 23 percent could read at or above the proficient level;
  • only 19 percent could write proficiently;
  • only 17 percent were proficient at math.

1. Ayanna read about a one-day sale at Billions o’ Bikes. If she buys a mountain bike today, she will receive a 15% discount on her purchase. The regular price of the bike she wants to buy is $195.00. What is the discounted price of the bike?
A. $165.75
B. $224.25
C. $180.00
D. $168.20

2. Vandy ordered several 16-foot-long submarine sandwiches for his sister’s graduation party. By the time everyone had finished eating, only 3.2 feet of one sandwich was left. Vandy wants to share the leftovers with seven of his friends. If he cuts the remaining sandwich into 8 equal pieces, how many inches long will each piece be?
A. .4 inch
B. 6.4 inches
C. 4 inches
D. 4.8 inches

3. At 11 a.m., Rusty Fender drove onto the interstate. He drove 165 miles at an average speed of 66 miles an hour and then exited the interstate. At what time did Rusty reach the exit?
A. 1:00 p.m.
B. 1:30 p.m.
C. 2:30 p.m.
D. 2:50 p.m.

4. Charu works as a salesperson for an Internet company. She receives a weekly base salary of $325 plus 10% of her weekly sales. Last week, she earned $585 total. This can be represented by the equation below, where M represents Charu’s Internet sales for the week.
325 + .10M=585
What was the amount of Charu’s sales last week?
A. $2,600.00
B. $9,100.00
C. $5,520.00
D. $3,750.00

5. Mr. Hazell is building a wooden fence. So far, the fence consists of eight posts and is 102 inches long. Each post is 4 inches wide. What is the distance (x) between any two posts of the fence?
A. 4 inches
B. 8.75 inches
C. 10 inches
D. 11.2 inches

6. Paula Punctual has another essay due next week. She has recorded the length of time it has taken her to write each of the previous three essays. To predict how long it will take Miss Punctual to write the next essay, which of the following should she compute?
A. Mean
B. Median
C. Mode
D. Range

7. The prices of a sweater in six different stores are $31.90, $26.30, $29.00, $32.75, $25.50 and $38.00. Find the median price of the sweater.
A. $31.90
B. $30.45
C. $30.00
D. $30.53

8. If you add negative five to a number, it is the same as
A. Adding five to the number
B. Subtracting five from the number
C. Subtracting negative five from the number
D. Adding one-fifth to the number

Copyright 2000 Sun-Sentinel Co. & South Florida Interactive, Inc. June 20, 2000.

Answers: 1 (A); 2 (D); 3 (B); 4 (A); 5 (C); 6 (A); 7 (B); 8 (B).