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A high school student who already understands the concepts of variables and
functions (and is reading at or above grade level) can probably make
his/her way through the language to discover that it is saying what he or
she already knows. Then the student's question becomes, "Why are they
wasting my time with reading this?"
A student (no matter how skilled a reader) who began with less than a
complete understanding of variables and functions would almost certainly
find this text befuddling.
It is amazing that anyone would think this is a helpful introduction to a
problem or series of problems. If there will be multiple-choice questions
such as "Which is the dependent variable in a given equation?" the last
three sentences contain all the information necessary to remind students of
the meaning of these terms. The preceding sentences are frustrating because
they require effort to decipher but yield no necessary information.
Of course, one may also wonder why the test makers thought multiple choice
questions of the sort this text apparently introduces would be a good
measure of students' knowledge of mathematics.
At 10:57 AM 5/10/2003 -0400, Gerald Bracey wrote:
This is not a set up for a gotcha. I'd like people to tell me what level
they think the following text is pitched at. Any other commentary about
it would be welcome as well.
"Each of the graphs in the preceding article shows a definite relation
between two quantities such that when one is known the other can be found
either by experiment or by computation. These quantities are usually
represented by certain symbols such as p,v,x,y, etc, and are called variables.
DEFINITION: a variable is a symbol which may represent an indefinite
number of values throughout a particular discussion.
For example, in the equation A =pi X R squared, A and R are variables and
represent the area and radius, respectively, of a circle. When A is
expressed in terms of R, R is called the independent variable and A the
dependent variable or function of R. In general, we may give the
If a variable y depends another variable x, so that whe a value of x is
known, y is determined, then y is called a function of x.
- From: "gerald w. bracey" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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