mathdad's opinions about education

mathdad

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In fact, solving equations (of the types that have known algorithms for solution) is purely mechanical. The intellectual part of applied math is translating problems into the language of math. All the rest machines can do.
We all know this to be true. HOWEVER, how many students can do this today? Students are bombarded daily with insane mechanics to pass standardized exams with little to no focus on ACTUAL LEARNING. They call it TEACHING THE TEST.
 

mathdad

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Tables are useful, but if they are a substitute for understanding and logical thinking, they do nothing to let you apply math to different kinds of problem.

Tables organize information. That can be extremely useful. But if you don't know what information is necessary, how can you put together the proper table?
Read my first reply to you about TEACHING THE TEST.
 

JeffM

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Sep 14, 2012
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I totally get what you are saying but honestly, read again what I said above. Dr. Peterson, I consider myself a victim of public school education. Here is the sad reality of my life.

I have three college diplomas in areas other than math. Yet, I lack the confidence a person with THREE degrees should have to pass standardized exams. In 1995, I passed the ASVAB to join the Navy. My test score was 55 percent. Not bad but I took the test after graduating from three different colleges. I also recall studying for 6 months prior to taking the military entrance exam. See my point? In other words, I should have scored a lot higher, at least 80 percent.
And here is the problem. You purchased degrees, not education. That is what you concentrate on even now when you know that the degrees are not worth the paper they are printed on.

The consumers in a school are, by definition, uneducated so they are in no position to assess the quality of the product. But they can put a diploma on the wall and a degree on a resume whether they are educated or not. A diploma is a tangible object; an education is not.

The schools themselves get money for the number of bodies that enter rather than the number of minds that exit. So the schools have no economic incentive to educate anyone (although many teachers that I have known have strong personal motivations to educate).
 

JeffM

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We all know this to be true. HOWEVER, how many students can do this today? Students are bombarded daily with insane mechanics to pass standardized exams with little to no focus on ACTUAL LEARNING. They call it TEACHING THE TEST.
The only way to assess objectively whether students have any grasp of the material is by standardized tests. If the tests are insane, the problem is the nature of the specific tests, not testing as a principle.

Let me put it this way: if a test measures how well the important material has been learned, why would I not want teachers to concentrate on teaching that material?

This whole aversion to standardized testing is a red herring created by teachers who fear objective accountability.

If the tests in algebra were about translating word problems into the appropriate equations would you agree that such tests were appropriate or insane?
 

mathdad

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And here is the problem. You purchased degrees, not education. That is what you concentrate on even now when you know that the degrees are not worth the paper they are printed on.

The consumers in a school are, by definition, uneducated so they are in no position to assess the quality of the product. But they can put a diploma on the wall and a degree on a resume whether they are educated or not. A diploma is a tangible object; an education is not.

The schools themselves get money for the number of bodies that enter rather than the number of minds that exit. So the schools have no economic incentive to educate anyone (although many teachers that I have known have strong personal motivations to educate).
This is nothing. The problem goes much deeper than the easy to see crime against students. Read Agenda 21 when time allows. It is super scary to know what the government has in mind to do. The dumbing down of the USA began long ago.
 

mathdad

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The only way to assess objectively whether students have any grasp of the material is by standardized tests. If the tests are insane, the problem is the nature of the specific tests, not testing as a principle.

Let me put it this way: if a test measures how well the important material has been learned, why would I not want teachers to concentrate on teaching that material?

This whole aversion to standardized testing is a red herring created by teachers who fear objective accountability.

If the tests in algebra were about translating word problems into the appropriate equations would you agree that such tests were appropriate or insane?
1. I am not against testing students.

2. I am against the idea of timed exams.

3. I am more concerned that they understand the material and can demonstrate their academic skills on exams that do not focus too much on 1 hr, 2hrs, 3hrs, etc. In 1985, I failed the NYPD exam with 58 percent. More than three decades later, I still recall my test score. It was after taking this particular reading test that I came to the realization that public school education from grades 1 to 12 was a total waste of time.

4. Standardized exams are given for 3 reasons, in my opinion:

A. To make money. Each test is terribly expensive.
B. To reduce the amount of applicants for competitive jobs.
C. To discriminate certain ethnic groups in our society that did not have the same LIFE CHANCES as the rich and wealthy.
 
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