The Big Story Blog

Could you do the math on a teacher licensing test?

Posted at 10:20 AM on February 23, 2012 by Paul Tosto
Filed under: Education

They're called basic skills tests, but could you answer the questions?

Minnesota has long required teaching candidates to pass gatekeeper tests in reading, writing and math as part of the process to get a license. The rules used to have some built-in flexibility -- a candidate could get a provisional license and teach while working toward passing the tests.

Legislation signed into law this week by Gov. Mark Dayton, though, now requires teachers to pass those tests before getting a license.

But how hard are the questions? We found some sample items on the Minnesota Teacher Licensure Examinations site.

The reading and writing segments require reading long passages first, so best just to click on the link and read through them.

Below are some of the sample math questions. Take a look. For those of us long removed from a math class, it can be pretty humbling.

If the sum of two nonzero whole numbers is odd and their product is even, which of the following statements about the numbers must be true?
Neither number is prime.
Only one number is prime.
Both numbers are odd.
Only one number is odd.
A laser printer purchased for $3350 is expected to be worth only $800 in 6 years. If the value of the printer is modeled by an equation of the form y = mx + b, where y equals the value and x equals the number of years, which of the following describes the significance of m?

the initial value of the printer
the rate of change in value of the printer
the average value of the printer
the minimum value of the printer

Which of the following mathematical concepts are being applied when a photographer enlarges 4-inch by 6-inch photos to 12-inch by 18-inch photos?

analyzing patterns
ratios and proportions
applying percents
estimation and rounding


About Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto writes the Big Story Blog for MPR News. He joined the newsroom in 2008 after more than 20 years reporting on education, politics and the economy for news wires and newspapers across the country.