Wednesday, January 13, 2010

WTFF. xiii. This post should be shoved up the noses of those who think that "discovery" based math instruction is great.

Cliff Mass: How Good Are UW Students At Math?
Consider these embarrassing statistics from the exam:

The overall grade was 58%

43% did not know the formula for the area of a circle
86% could not do a simple algebra problem (problem 4b)
75% could not do a simple scientific notation problem (1e)
52% could not deal with a negative exponent (2 to the -2)
43% could not do simple long division problem with no remainder!
47% did not know what a cosine was.

These are kids taking an introductory course in Earth and Space Sciences. Ostensibly, that is not something required of all students, so I think I can safely assume that these kids are basically interested in science. So it's fucking criminal that these kids do not come to college with the tools needed to learn what they are interested in.

This isn't just an appalling indictment of pedagogical theories of the last twenty years. This isn't just a regional embarrassment. This is an existential crisis. Economic recovery will never occur without major advances in biomedical and energy technology, and without the next generation having a solid foundation in mathematics, the situation is utterly hopeless.

Makes me want to become a math tutor, like yesterday. I could come up to speed on the crap I can't remember off the top of my head in a long weekend, and kids I taught would run laps around the typical UW freshman within weeks.

Read it all. It should make you very angry.

No comments: