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*From*: gerald bracey <gbracey@EROLS.COM>*Date*: Sat, 23 Feb 2002 08:16:25 -0500*Comments*: To: eddra@egroups.com, Jay Mathews <mathewsj@washpost.com>, bronnere@nytimes.com, agoodnough@nytimes.com, jbernstein@nytimes.com, fletcherm@washpost.com*Reply-to*: Assessment Reform Network Mailing List <ARN-L@LISTS.CUA.EDU>*Sender*: Assessment Reform Network Mailing List <ARN-L@LISTS.CUA.EDU>

Here's something a little different. I want to present some data and then ask a question. It's a real question, not a conclusion in the form of a question.

The data come from the TIMSS Benchmarking study. In that study, 38 nations, 13 states, and 14 distric ts or consortia of districts participated. Among these 65 entities, the First in the World Consortium finished 7th in math. Chicago public schools finished 53rd.

Yet on the following two problems, Chicago did better than FITW: 4.722-1.935 = , and 7003-2925 = .For the first problem, the international average was 77% correct. Some 83% of Chicago kids and only 73% of FITW kids got it right. For the second, the international average was 74% with Chicago kids checking in at 80% and FITW and 74%.

Here's the question: Given FITW's overall stellar performance, do the above data not indicate that mastery of "the basics" is not necessary for the acquisition of advanced mathematical skills?

In the college town where I grew up, it was a cliche that mathematicians couldn't cope with arithmetic. Are arithmetic and math independent of each other? My guess is yes.

I await your responses.

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