Updated: Jan 15, 2019
What are they?
End of Course Exams (EOC's) are exams given by the State of Nevada to every public high school student in the state. Students are required to take four EOC's during their high school career, two of which are math. These exams test the common core standards students are supposed to have mastered during the year. The first math exam is given at the end of Algebra 1 and the second is given at the end of Geometry. (To see a break down of the subject standards click here for Algebra 1 and here for Geometry.) These exams are separate from the finals students usually take at the end of the semester. Many schools have students take both an EOC and either a district made or teacher made final.
How do they affect my student?
It is state law that the EOC's must count for a minimum of 10% of Algebra 1 and Geometry student's semester grade this year. Additionally, CCSD has required that a student must pass all of their EOC's to graduate. This means that the EOC's are incredibly important to student's academic progress. A poor EOC grade will result in a full letter grade drop and possibly prevent a student from graduating. EOC's may have a larger or smaller impact on your student depending on choices made by your student's school and teacher.
What are the exams like?
Historically, the EOC's have been incredibly difficult for students. Grades on these exams are generally around 25% across the district. The questions on the test are written by the Nevada Department of Education and approach the material in a very abstract and elevated manner that does not usually match the way students are taught in class. Many of our students have reported that the tests were convoluted and confusing. Some have expressed that the test questions were so foreign that they did not reflect the material covered in class.
What makes the EOC's so difficult?
We believe the challenge the EOC’s represent comes from a variety of factors, the first of which is that students are not accustomed to the difficult conceptual and application focused questions that dominate the EOC. Additionally, teachers are only given an outline of test topics and are never allowed to actually see any of the EOC's. Therefore, they cannot more closely match their curriculum and in class reviews to the style of the EOC. Further adding to the difficulty, the EOC's test specific material that includes many topics from the beginning of the year. Student’s often struggle on those topics without constant review.
When are the EOC's?
There has been a lot of variation in previous years. Some schools took the EOC's up to three weeks before the end of the semester. Some schools held the exams during the last week of school instead of a final exam. Due to the variation, we at Mathease plan on having students ready by May in case some schools hold it earlier this year.
What can I do to ensure the best results for my student?
First and foremost, make sure your student starts reviewing now. They should be consulting their notes and doing practice problems on material from earlier in the year. Continual review is the best method for ensuring students remember everything they need for their exams. Secondly, encourage your student to work on practice material designed specifically for the EOC. The website RPDP has some great resources prepared by CCSD and the state to help prepare students for the EOC's. Next, get in contact with your student's teacher. With each school handling EOC's differently it is important to know exactly what is in store for your student. If you can get confirmation from your student's teacher as to the dates of their EOC, if students are also having a final, and what type of final the student is having, you can tailor your student's preparation to be more effective and efficient. See our other blog on exactly what questions to ask and where to send the material. Finally, consider getting some extra help for your student from Mathease. We have developed a four part prep planned designed to make sure your student does their best. With one-on-one tutoring sessions and group classes available for EOC Prep, we are ready to be your student's ally as they head into these difficult exams.