Young Sheldon? Nokesville 10-year-old discovers error in standardized test practice game

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A fifth-grade student at T. Clay Wood Elementary School in Nokesville discovered this fall that a science question in a Standards of Learning Pass practice game was incorrect, prompting SOL Pass to remove the question from their game.

Dylan Weinrich was playing the “Who Wants to Play Millionaire?” game when he got to the following question:

“The magnetized needle of a Compass points to the Earth’s: 1.) Magnetic South Pole 2.) Magnetic North Pole 3.) Geographic North Pole 4.) Geographic South Pole.”

To Weinrich’s surprise, he got the question wrong, ending his chance at winning the game. The game showed that the correct answer to the question was option two, the magnetic north pole.

This was confusing for Weinrich, the fifth-grader told InsideNoVa. He recalled watching a video from BrainPop, an animated educational website, that said the needle of a compass points to the Earth’s magnetic south pole.

As it turns out, Weinrich was right. Moreover, both options one and three are correct, as the magnetized needle of a compass points to the Earth’s magnetic south pole, which is the geographic north pole.

After confirming that the answer listed as correct was incorrect, Weinrich and his mom, Renata Memic, reached out to the administrators of SOL Pass to inform them of the mistake.

Memic told InsideNoVa, however, that SOL Pass investigated the question and told her they did not feel a correction was needed.

Memic said she then reached out to the Prince William County Public Schools Elementary Science Learning Department to make them aware of the situation.

An administrator confirmed via email that Dylan was correct and the answer was in fact wrong. Ultimately, that administrator reached out to SOL Pass and encouraged them to correct the question, just as Memic and her son had asked.

Ultimately, SOL Pass said it would remove the question entirely from the game because it was above fifth-grade learning levels, Memic said.

At just 10 years old, Weinrich already has an impressive resume. He is a part of Mensa, a nonprofit organization open to people who score at the 98th percentile or higher on an official IQ test. He also speaks Bosnian fluently.

He is also a part of the Young Scholars Program with the Davidson Institute and has a black belt in Taekwondo, which he received at just 9 years old.

“Science is one of my favorite subjects. It’s simply incredible when you think about it, people just learning about the world around us, figuring out everything, how everything works, how life exists … it’s incredible,” Weinrich said.

Memic said that as a parent she hopes there is more review done on the SOL Pass games questions, as students use these as a learning tool. Weinrich, as the student using them, agreed.

“There should be more checking when it comes to sources and reliability,” Weinrich said.

He noted that he wants other students to learn – correctly – and voiced concern that mistakes such as the one made with this question could lead to dwindling test scores.

“SOL scores shouldn’t dwindle because of someone’s mistake that they made, that they didn’t proofread,” he said.

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