MCAS, Grade 8

Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System
District: na
State: MA

Quick! What is the distance between Boston and Harcourt testing headquarters–in meters.

This question has a lot wrong with it.

1) Does ANYBODY except test item writers measure the distance between cities in meters?

2) If one were choosing the correct answer according to scientific notation, there is no right answer. It should be 2.58 x 10 to the 5th power (a 10 with a little raised 5).

3) According to, 280,000 meters = 160.31 miles.

According to, the distance between Pittsfield and Provincetown is 245.49 miles.

So the question is not only nutty, it is careless besides.

But since MCAS authorities insist they are preparing students for the global economy, we would point out that from Boston to Xian, China is 23,013,619.2 meters.

Bon voyage.

(26) Pittsfield and Provincetown are approximately 258,000 meters apart. Which of the following shows this number in scientific notation?

A. 258 x 10 to the third power
B. 258 x 10 to the negative third power
C. 258 x 10 to the fifth power
C. 258 x 10 to the negative fifth power

NOTE: These were written with scientific notation.