kitchen table math, the sequel: 21% correct

Saturday, May 7, 2011

21% correct

PWN the SAT links to an SAT math question only 21% of respondents got right.


Mike said...

Thanks for the link, Catherine! I love your blog; I'm so happy Debbie Stier turned me on to it.

gasstationwithoutpumps said...

If that is what passes as a hard SAT problem these days, I understand more why math professors are bemoaning the lack of skills of the incoming students. It's an easy geometry exercise.

Catherine Johnson said...

I thought it was awfully easy, but I imagine it's an 'inflexible knowledge' type question, where students don't realize you can have just 3 points.

I've now taken a lot of high school geometry, including all of the ALEKS online geometry course, and I've never been asked to do a problem like this.

So I imagine real high school students haven't done it, either.

Mike said...

I'm wary of ever calling something that kids struggle with "easy." That's a value judgment that discourages kids who, for whatever reason, aren't able to see their way to the correct answer to a question.

Catherine, I think you're right that part of the problem is that it's pretty unique. Kids who prep hard can improve their scores a TON just by starting to recognize the patterns in commonly asked questions, but the SAT is very good at throwing one or two curveballs like this on every test. That's one of the things that I like most about the test.

Pattern recognition is important, but it's equally important for kids who aspire to the very highest scores that they practice being nimble.

Hainish said...

I didn't find this hard at all.

Off topic: For Catherine, this is a website you might enjoy. Interviews of writers on the writing process, including an interview of Robert Sapolsky,

Catherine Johnson said...

oh thank you!

I love Robert Sapolsky---glad to get that link

Jen said...

I think lots of kids try to think their way through problems without putting pencil to paper. That desire to do it in their heads combined with general anxiety about questions in this format and about geometry questions probably knocks out a lot of kids.

Most will get the only one set of parallel lines concept, but seeing the different ways to draw it really gives more confidence in your answer.