Re: Intelligence, Genetics and Equality (was "The Paradoxes...)
- Subject: Re: Intelligence, Genetics and Equality (was "The Paradoxes...)
- From: Glenn <glenn@PEEDEEWORLD.NET>
- Date: Fri, 9 Jun 2000 20:22:36 -0400
- Reply-to: Assessment Reform Network Mailing List <ARN-L@LISTS.CUA.EDU>
- Sender: Assessment Reform Network Mailing List <ARN-L@LISTS.CUA.EDU>
> There SHOULD be a lot of controversy over whether everyone
> should be expected to master 2 years of algebra and geometry
> since that's the minimum for most 4 year universities, and
> no large city or state has ever demonstrated more than 50% of
> students being able to pass algebra compentency tests. Most
> of the new state test essentially require this level of math
> skill and courses. A GED only requires knowledge of arithmetic
> and percentages.
Okay, let me throw this out there from a teacher standpoint...
I actually think greater numbers of kids could "get" algebra if it wasn't
being taught sooooooo traditionally. (As in, look at the chapter, teacher
demonstrates a few problems, kids practice a few and check and then they're
on their own.)
I have seen some amazing work in mathematics-- both as a student and as a
I attended the North Carolina School of Science and Math in Durham, NC.
It's a 2 year residential school for students who fit several criteria--
among them being bored at their home schools, having an aptitude/ interest
in math and science, and being self-motivated. Admissions are extremely
competitive, the school is free-- you live, eat, sleep, learn, play, etc.,
there for 2 years.
I'll grant that I had all the advantages of being self-motivated and being
ready to learn when I got to NCSSM... on the other hand, my math aptitude is
not excessive. I took calculus my junior year in high school at NCSSM-- but
instead of our professor telling us how to do the math, he had us grow
bacteria, measure their growth, come up with graphs and then write equations
to determine the rate of change. We had to create the process ourselves.
(and I'll never forget the midnight to four shift and counting out bacteria
in a creepy lab with my even creepier lab partner. ;) )
I took Cal II my senior year, along with a math modeling course. Did well
because everything we did was put into concrete terms and the learning came
from *me*, not just a bunch of writing on the blackboard.
When I got to college I initially thought I'd like to be a physics teacher,
so I took a bunch of math classes my first semester-- Cal II and Number
Theory. Oh my! It was back to the traditional way of learning math and I
could not hack it. I'd earned top grades in difficult math classes the year
before, but when presented with a few abstract examples and instructions to
"read the chapter," I couldn't do it.
Unfortunately I think that there are many math classrooms that *because* of
testing rely on traditional methods. After all, the kids don't have to
graph the rate of growth of anything on a typical objective test... there's
no one answer for a lot of real-world math problems, and there's definitely
no one way to GET to a right answer in most of higher mathematics.
I'm not so sure that algebraic concepts are too complex for most (although
there will always be some kids who can't get them) students... I do think
that the method in which these concepts are delivered makes a HUGE
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