1,236 multiple-choice MCAS math items

The items are all available on github; this post duplicates the repo’s README:

A friend and I went through all the MCAS math exam PDFs available as of January 2013 and used the Mac screenshot function to create PNG images for every multiple-choice question that didn’t explicitly require some additional resource, like a ruler. We recorded the correct answers in simple text files. This produced 1,236 items from 53 exams offered from 2007 to 2012 for grades 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 10.

I plan to use these items in a project I’m working on, but I’d like to make them available in this format for others as well, so that the work we did is not needlessly duplicated. Thanks to the sensibleness of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, re-use is allowed. Their complete copyright message is copied at the bottom of this README.

Each exam administration has its own folder. The folders are named like s2008g10math.

  • The first character indicates when the exam is from. The spring administration (s) is when almost all exams are offered. There are also March (m) and November (n) re-tests for tenth grade.
  • The next four characters indicate the year of the exam.
  • The g is a handy delimiter meaning “grade” and the digits that follow it represent the grade level of the exam.
  • The last four characters are always math because that’s all we looked at for this.

Within each exam administration folder are a bunch of PNG files and a key.txt text file. The PNG filenames include a date and time that orders them correctly. Be careful – the correct ordering is not always produced by alphabetizing the filenames. The text file key.txt includes one answer per line (A, B, C, or D) and sometimes comments starting with a hash. Comments like “#calc” were meant to indicate the start of the exam section that allowed calculators. These are mostly correct, but I gave up caring about the calculator rules, so I’m not that concerned with whether they’re right. In my further processing I just completely ignore comments.

I am not in any way affiliated with Masachusetts or its education system. I just hope that by making these items available I might in some small way contribute to improving education overall. Use these items well!

~ Aaron Schumacher


Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education copyright notice:

Permission is hereby granted to copy for non-commercial educational purposes any or all parts of this document with the exception of English Language Arts passages that are not designated as in the public domain. Permission to copy all other passages must be obtained from the copyright holder. Please credit the “Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.”

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