Category Archives: Mathematics

How Math Illiteracy Hurts Kids: The Colorado Referendum

At the risk of channeling my inner Dean Baker, I can’t help but think the belief that the failed Colorado referendum to increase taxes slightly to provide school funding to underfunded schools is due to numerical illiteracy. Consider this (boldface … Continue reading

Posted in Education, Mathematics, Taxes | 3 Comments

Somehow I Don’t Think This Was Banksy

Only in Boston, with all its colleges, would you see graffiti like this: (Observed on Louisberg Square, Beacon Hill, Boston)

Posted in Boston, Mathematics | 2 Comments

Instead of Racing to Tops or Not Leaving Children Behind, Why Don’t We Just Clone What Massachusetts Has Done?

The 2011 TIMMS international scholastic test results are out (I’ve written about TIMMS results before). I’ll have more to say about the results later–the Alabama-Massachusetts comparisons, my favorite*, are devastating. But, as a first pass, it’s worth noting that, once … Continue reading

Posted in Education, Massachusetts, Mathematics | 6 Comments

Solidarity and Teaching

No, this isn’t about unions (at least directly), but teachers supporting each other’s teaching. Carrie Leana describes the role of “social capital” plays in student outcomes, in particular third grade math* (boldface mine): So we asked the teachers whom they … Continue reading

Posted in Education, Mathematics, Unions | 4 Comments

Value-Added Testing and “Weapons of Math Destruction”

I’ve written about the technical problems with using value-added testing to assess teacher performance before. Note that technical is not a synonym for trivial–these problems are fundamental. The recently settled Chicago teachers strike has made this issue important once again. … Continue reading

Posted in Education, Mathematics, Statistics | 1 Comment

Curriculum and Pedagogy Matter and ‘Reformers’ Suck at Those Things: The Math Edition

When the latest ‘algebra-is-too-hard-so-let’s-dumb-it-down’ pustule broke, I argued that the problem isn’t learning algebra, it’s that the students in trouble usually haven’t learned basic arithmetic: …one thing I’ve noticed anecdotally is that when students say they have difficultly with algebra, … Continue reading

Posted in Education, Mathematics | 2 Comments

It’s Not the Algebra, It’s the Arithmetic

There has been a lot said so far about Andrew Hacker’s argument for de-emphasizing algebra, and I’ll have more to say about that later this week. But one thing I’ve noticed anecdotally is that when students say they have difficultly … Continue reading

Posted in Education, Mathematics | 9 Comments

I Am Still the Punditiest Pundit EVAH!: The First Derivative Edition

Back when the Obama Administration was blabbering on about “green shoots”, the forefather of the confidence fairy, I repeatedly bemoaned the confusion between the change in unemployment or other economic indicators (the first derivative) versus the number of people actually … Continue reading

Posted in Economics, Mathematics | 3 Comments

Meet the New New Math, Same As the Old New Math? What We Can Learn from Finland

Do we need an applied ‘constructivist’ curriculum for math?
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Posted in Education, Mathematics | 2 Comments

About the Gallup LGBT Estimation Poll, We Can Conclude That Many Americans…

…don’t understand fractions.
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Posted in Mathematics, Polling | 7 Comments