The Math You Don't Learn is Harder Still

  • #101
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Yes, I am sure you know far more about my brother's school than he does, esp. since you were not even a student there, let alone a teacher.

I shall e-mail him your commentary and demand he correct his opinions forthwith. The fellow is clearly useless.

Needless to say, I was discounting the implicit broader message--namely, that such is the state of all students in the country. To believe this is nothing more than an act of arrogance.

As it is, it's just a squabble over personal experiences. We need statistics.

Still, I think I made a valid point, and I'd rather not see it die just yet. What's your take on it?

p.s. Whatever it was in my last post that prompted the condescension, well, sorry; it was unintended.
 
  • #102
Gza
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hehe nice :rofl:

NO IT WASN'T...NOW SHUDDUP :grumpy:



:wink:

also, I think this thread is about 3 posts away from getting locked.
 
  • #103
BobG
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NO IT WASN'T...NOW SHUDDUP :grumpy:



:wink:

also, I think this thread is about 3 posts away from getting locked.

Good choice. That would certainly be a prime candidate for locking.
 
  • #104
He doesn't teach in an inner city school, although I admit I don't know exactly where he does teach. It's somewhere up around Boston, so it's tough to blame this one on the religious right. They tend to be a bit "fundamentalist" in their educational preferences in any case: they generally want the schools to teach reading, writing and arithmetic, and not a great deal else.

It's not just math US students are falling way behind in, it's all the hard sciences. But the point he makes is pretty obvious: if you gut the math curriculum, the rest of the sciences are going to suffer correspondingly. I've never heard anyone argue it is the evolutionists who are dragging down US science scores, but if anyone ever tried that argument, it just got refuted by the NYT article and the rather obvious connection back to math.

However, if you look on the bright side of that, the science scores might pick back up if you fix the math. It might be just the one problem, not a sector-wide difficulty.

p.s. Whatever it was in my last post that prompted the condescension, well, sorry; it was unintended.
It was this line:
let me be the first to say that this is complete bull****
 
  • #105
arildno
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He doesn't teach in an inner city school, although I admit I don't know exactly where he does teach. It's somewhere up around Boston, so it's tough to blame this one on the religious right. They tend to be a bit "fundamentalist" in their educational preferences in any case: they generally want the schools to teach reading, writing and arithmetic, and not a great deal else.

It's not just math US students are falling way behind in, it's all the hard sciences. But the point he makes is pretty obvious: if you gut the math curriculum, the rest of the sciences are going to suffer correspondingly. I've never heard anyone argue it is the evolutionists who are dragging down US science scores, but if anyone ever tried that argument, it just got refuted by the NYT article and the rather obvious connection back to math.

However, if you look on the bright side of that, the science scores might pick back up if you fix the math. It might be just the one problem, not a sector-wide difficulty.


It was this line:

Take heart. The situation is even worse here in Norway. :smile: :grumpy:
 
  • #106
Take heart. The situation is even worse here in Norway. :smile: :grumpy:
I would not have thought it possible, but you are right.

Note that these are just the math scores, below. The 2003 eighth grade science scores are also on that page, table 9.

From http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2005/timss03/tables.asp" [Broken] (figures in table 3)
Table 3. Average mathematics scale scores of eighth-grade students, by country: 2003 ('+' = higher than US average, '•' = not measurably different, '-' = lower)
Country Average score
– International average1 466

+ Singapore 605
+ Korea, Republic of 589
+ Hong Kong SAR2,3 586
+ Chinese Taipei 585
+ Japan 570
+ Belgium-Flemish 537
+ Netherlands2 536
+ Estonia 531
+ Hungary 529
• Malaysia 508
• Latvia 508
• Russian Federation 508
• Slovak Republic 508
• Australia 505
• (United States) 504
• Lithuania4 502
• Sweden 499
• Scotland2 498
• (Israel) 496
• New Zealand 494
– Slovenia 493
– Italy 484
– Armenia 478
– Serbia4 477
– Bulgaria 476
– Romania 475
– Norway 461
– Moldova, Republic of 460
– Cyprus 459
– (Macedonia, Republic of) 435
– Lebanon 433
– Jordan 424
– Iran, Islamic Republic of 411
– Indonesia4 411
– Tunisia 410
– Egypt 406
– Bahrain 401
– Palestinian National Authority 390
– Chile 387
– (Morocco) 387
– Philippines 378
– Botswana 366
– Saudi Arabia 332
– Ghana 276
– South Africa 264
 
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  • #107
arildno
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Yeah, it is extremely disheartening.
We have some insane individuals in positions of power who have been bent upon wrecking the Norwegian school (which was excellent in the early 80's).

The gurus on the faculty of pedagogics (they quarreled themselves to get their own faculty!) have, among other ideas, advocated the abolition of mathematics as a separate subject in school.
For example, maths should be "integrated" in other subjects like physical education. In all seriousness, a guru said that kids would learn maths better if they were to "calculate" the angle between the skis of an athlete climbing up a slope, rather than learning "abstract maths" like trigonometry.

The situation in Norway is quite horrifying.
 
  • #108
For example, maths should be "integrated" in other subjects like physical education. In all seriousness, a guru said that kids would learn maths better if they were to "calculate" the angle between the skis of an athlete climbing up a slope, rather than learning "abstract maths" like trigonometry.
That particular example doesn't sound too bad, since it is really just a word-problem. Those things were common even in the antediluvian days when I memorizing multiplication tables. It's sort of a non sequitur to suggest not teaching trigonometry, however, since that is how you would go about calculating the angle of the skis. So I assume the reality must be a bit worse than simply using word problems to integrate the subject matter.

Note that I didn't just memorize multiplication tables: I was fortunately on the cusp of a prior round of "old math" and "new math" debates. We were taught how to build our own multiplication tables before we were told we'd have to memorize the things even if we knew how to build them from scratch. "You're not always going to have time to work it out. You need to simply know the answers," I was told (and more than once, since I tended to protest rather loudly at the inanity of it several times).

Net result? I became good enough at building the things that people assumed I must have them memorized to do it so quickly. Whatever works, y'know?
 
  • #109
arildno
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No trig. involved, it is after all far more "practical" to use a half-disk with angles inscribed upon it than using dreary trig, isn't it?
 
  • #110
Alkatran
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"You're not always going to have time to work it out. You need to simply know the answers," I was told (and more than once, since I tended to protest rather loudly at the inanity of it several times).

It's true, though. Knowing how to do quick multiplication (or at least a quick estimate) in your head is really useful in the later years. You should know the technique for multiplying large numbers and memorize smaller numbers (1-10 at least).

Ever meet people who can't do those small multiplications? It's really kind of scary.
 
  • #111
It's true, though. Knowing how to do quick multiplication (or at least a quick estimate) in your head is really useful in the later years. You should know the technique for multiplying large numbers and memorize smaller numbers (1-10 at least).

Ever meet people who can't do those small multiplications? It's really kind of scary.
Even more so for calculus. As I wrote earlier in this topic
It's a lot like entry level calculus. Simply being able to solve the problem with sufficient thought isn't adequate. Being able to solve it almost without thinking is vital if you want to move beyond it. Yes, everyone knows you can derive the division rule from the multiplcation rule. But, as one of my professors said, "I don't care if you've taken five qualudes and passed out in a puddle of beer. If I roll you over and shout, 'Division!', I want you to tell me this," as he pointed at the board.
I meant to write "Division Rule" in the quote, but I missed that part. It should have been clear from context. Also, he smacked the board, he didn't just point at it. Moreover, it's correctly spelt "quaaludes".
 
  • #112
turbo
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Ever meet people who can't do those small multiplications? It's really kind of scary.
It's even scarier when you try to buy something at a convenience store and the cash register has crapped out, and the clerk freaks. You buy gas (taxes computed at the pump), a non-taxable food item, and another item that has a 5% sales tax. You need to get to where you are going and can't wait for the register to get fixed (simple reset, likely) but you can't convince the clerk that it's OK to add 5% to the cost of the taxable item and then add the gas and the non-taxable item. How anybody can get through high school and not have this very low-level grasp of math is beyond me.
 
  • #113
Alkatran
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It's even scarier when you try to buy something at a convenience store and the cash register has crapped out, and the clerk freaks. You buy gas (taxes computed at the pump), a non-taxable food item, and another item that has a 5% sales tax. You need to get to where you are going and can't wait for the register to get fixed (simple reset, likely) but you can't convince the clerk that it's OK to add 5% to the cost of the taxable item and then add the gas and the non-taxable item. How anybody can get through high school and not have this very low-level grasp of math is beyond me.

I really hope it's because they're not sure whether or not taxes apply to the given items. Well, more "wish" than "hope." :cry:

In my perfect world, everyone would know arithmetic and everyone would know OF higher mathematics (ie, that it's not arithmetic).
 

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