kitchen table math, the sequel: 4/7/13 - 4/14/13

Saturday, April 13, 2013

The tragedy of histogeomegraph continues

In the news today: another botched attempt at interdisciplinarity in our public schools:
ALBANY — High school is full of hypotheticals, like “How does one solve for x?” and “What happens if I skip class?” But this week, students at Albany High School were given an alarming thought puzzle: How do I convince my teacher that I think Jews are evil?


“Your essay must be five paragraphs long, with an introduction, three body paragraphs containing your strongest arguments, and a conclusion,” the assignment read. “You do not have a choice in your position: you must argue that Jews are evil, and use solid rationale from government propaganda to convince me of your loyalty to the Third Reich!”


Dr. Vanden Wyngaard, who met with Jewish leaders in Albany and made a public apology on Friday, said the assignment was apparently an attempt to link the English class with a history lesson on the Holocaust. The assignment itself seems to back up that theory, telling students to use “what you’ve learned in history class.” It also suggests using “any experiences you have.”

It echoed another recent, controversial assignment in Manhattan, where an elementary school class was given math problems featuring the whipping and killing of slaves, according to The Associated Press. That assignment was an effort to combine math and social studies lessons.

Students Told to Take Viewpoint of the Nazis
Published: April 12, 2013
I always thought the problem with teaching all subjects as one was that the results would be superficial and pointless. Like histogeomegraph.

It's always worse than you think.

checking in--and decline and fall

I'm doing a very rushed polish of Debbie S's SAT book -- which is wonderful -- and we're around-the-clock, so no blogging!

But I'm amassing beaucoup SAT factoids, so I'll put some up as I go.

For starters, here are the basics on the 16-year decline in SAT scores:
  • SAT scores declined from 1963 to 1980
  • Verbal mean: dropped from 475 to 425
  • Math mean: dropped from 500 to 470
  • By 1990, the Math mean has gone back up to 475, but Verbal mean has not budged
  • By 1980 College Board perceives a “definite need” to “realign the verbal and math scales”
  • SAT V and SAT M averages are 50 points apart
  • “there was a clear need to repopulate the top end of the score scale, especially for SAT V”
The Recentering of SAT® Scales and Its Effects on Score Distributions and Score Interpretations

And get your SAT I Score Equivalents right here: