I will say this: some of the 11th grade math questions were worded in an obtuse way. I will say that we have highly qualified, very competent math teachers at my school, and some of the problems had a few of us gathered around trying to figure out exactly what a problem was asking for. If it takes 3 good math teachers, two with masters degrees and one working on one, to figure out what an Algebra 1 question is asking, then the question isn't a good one.
There's a difference between rigor, that which requires a depth of knowledge and skill, and confusion, which makes the problem unnecessarily hard while obscuring the actual math.
One question in particular bothered me. It was about a right triangle, blah blah blah, and had 3 boxes for answers. In one box was cos A < sin A, in the second was cos A = sin A, and in the third was cos A < sin A. Below the box was a fourth box with a bunch of integer angle values. I can't remember exactly how the question was worded, but I couldn't tell if clicking and dragging one angle value into each box was sufficient to answer the question or if I had to put all 10 or so angle values in one of the boxes in order to get credit. That kind of confusion shouldn't be acceptable, especially for a test that will be given to half the high school juniors in the country.
Update, 3/29/14: Thanks to Mr. W in the comments, here are all the questions and the solutions. Scroll down to page 14/24 of the pdf file, or page 13 as shown on the picture (problem 682), to see the trig question I mentioned above. Note the ambiguity in the directions: Drag possible measures of angle A into the correct column. Thinking like a high school student, I have satisfied the requirements of this problem if I have put one value in each column. If it said "drag all possible measures of angle A" the instructions would be clear.
This is part of what's wrong with the way math is sometimes covered. It should be excessively clear what is being asked; when it's not, math becomes some mysterious task of trying to divine what the teacher (or test) actually wants you to perform.
With this pdf file you can see the questions that were asked. Do you agree with me about the wording of some of those questions?
If you're so inclined, take a look at the performance task. Don't think like a drone here, but really explore the problem. Is "fair" defined? Will everyone define "fair" the same way? Are you comfortable with a performance task for which you're only given credit if you agree with the problem-writer's (unexpressed) view of "fair"?
Why must two values be given? Where is that requirement stated? There are other ways, even ways that match the author's (unstated) definition of "fair", that don't require listing specific points.For this item, a full-credit response (2 points) include:agreeing with the claimANDjustifying the response by citing at least one comparison between values used in the two systems.
I know the fuzzy math proponents like subjectiveness, but this performance task is fundamentally flawed.