SL2RL-Math247

31 March 2008

Algebra II – The Key to Success?

Filed under: education,math — admin @ 12:13 am

The report: The Final Report of the National Mathematics Advisory Panel highlights this comment:

“Students who complete Algebra II are more than twice as likely to graduate from college compared to students with less mathematical preparation.”

Oh my.

What other subject gives this statistic?

What is about Algebra II that gives this result?

I also ask.

How many of us pay “double taxes” for mathematics education for our children?
Taxed once for schools and again for tutoring. I do.

Again from this report:

Moreover, there are large, persistent disparities in mathematics achievement related to race and income—disparities that are not only devastating for individuals and families but also project poorly for the nation’s future, given the youthfulness and high growth rates of the largest minority populations.

And this is true where I live too – not just in the US. So I bet it is true in many, many places.

Now – what are the answers to these questions and what do we do to change the situation?

 

16 March 2008

Vindicated – How sweet the taste of these grapes :)

Filed under: education,ICT,math — admin @ 3:53 am

In today’s New York Times – I saw a report: Report Urges Changes in Teaching Math

The report: The Final Report of the National Mathematics Advisory Panel

And we had just finished our paper the day before that made so many of the same points (also has some concrete ideas for solutions): ICT in Math Education – Small Interactivities & Specific Goals

How sweet the taste – after so many sour grapes this month!

————

Someone asked me what I meant about lighting the fire and filling the bucket in mathematics education …

In the US, math education has swung completely towards a “lighting the fire mentality” . For example, one doesn’t need to know the multiplication tables by heart. (I really didn’t think anybody could believe this until – no kidding – a university professor of ICT actually said this outloud at a conference: “It is enough to know that 6×7 is somewhere between 30-something and …”. By this time I was laughing so hard I didn’t hear the rest of the sentence.)

On the other hand, here where I live in Europe, the emphasis is on “filling the bucket”. For example, a child must memorize a formula for the volume of a cut-off pyramid. That is, not just memorize the formula for the volume of a pyramid, but also a formula that (a) you will never, ever need and (b) makes our students dummies. Why? Because the top of a pyramid is just another pyramid. So just use the one formula twice and subtract. Let’s just say to these kids – “no thinking permitted”.

The result is the same – neither child can “make the coffee”, i.e. do math at any level of competence AND both hate math.

One interesting feature is - both schools reward lots of “partial credit” on tests. How many bosses do you know reward “partially done jobs”?

And – if you think this problem is only in math:

My child here in Europe – had to know that in the population census in our country in 1935 there were 532,381 people – that is, an exact number for a definitively inexact figure.

On the other hand, in my US education, I am still unsure of even the relative positions in time of Shakespeare, the protestant revolution, the renaissance, Napoleon, the middle ages, Columbus, Walt Whitman, the US Civil War, etc.

2 March 2008

It’s about making coffee – Light the fire & Fill the bucket

Filed under: education,ICT,math — admin @ 1:09 am

I was just looking at the byline on an email I received from a “Professor of Education”.

It said – It’s about lighting a fire, not filling a bucket.

No it’s not.

“It” isn’t about either of these things separately.

“It” is about being able to make the coffee.

Powered by WordPress