kitchen table math, the sequel: 8/19/12 - 8/26/12

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


re: oops

Here's the original image from Smarter Balanced Assessment Corporation:

And here is the Education Week adaptation of the original:

Presumably at least two people vetted this image: the person who created it and the editor who signed off on it.

Apparently neither one noticed that Figures A and C changed significantly from the first version to the second.

In the Smarter Balanced Assessment Corporation image, only Figure B. represents 2/5.

In the Ed Week image, A, B, and C all represent 2/5. (At least, Figure A. now looks as if it does to me.) As a result, the question Which model best represents 2/5? has become nonsensical.

I'm guessing this is a case of humanities-trained people -- people who 'don't use math' in real life -- knowing so little about fractions that they didn't 'see' the difference between the original image and the adaptation.

I read the news today

Just got back from taking Chris to college, boo hoo. Not a day I was looking forward to.

Now, sitting down at my computer, I find this headline: Father’s Age Is Linked to Risk of Autism and Schizophrenia.

And this, in the body:
The age of mothers had no bearing on the risk for these disorders, the study found.
I read the words aloud to Ed, who said, "We're a long ways away from refrigerator mothers."

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Common Core re-defines fluency

More from the Education Week article on Common Core assessments:
He pointed to one illustrative example in PARCC’s materials that tries to gauge students’ fluency in division and multiplication. It offers five equations, such as 54÷9=24÷6, and asks 3rd graders to specify whether each is true or false.

“I like that it does multiple assessments in one item,” he said. “It asks kids to work each of those problems easily and be comfortable with it, which is what fluency is.”
Published in Print: August 22, 2012
Consortia Provide Preview of Common Assessments
By Catherine Gewertz
Offhand, I don't see how a set of five equations like these can test fluency. Fluency isn't simply a matter of accuracy, ease, and comfort. Fluency includes speed, and to assess fluency you need fluency aims, or standardized rates of performance.

How fast should a third grade student be able to answer these 5 questions? That's what you would need to know to use these equations to assess fluency, and one set of 5 simple equations probably isn't enough to measure speed.

Beyond that, I'm skeptical this is a fluency test at all. Seems to me it's more an application-of-knowledge test than a test of fluency per se.

Here's the list of fluency aims Rick Kubina culled from the precision teaching literature.

Maybe I should send a copy to PARCC.


Sorry to be out of touch -- our Long Goodbye (Chris goes to college tomorrow) is taxing, and taxing is time-consuming.

Am checking in to leave this image from the new issue of Education Week. The legend says it was "adapted from Smarter Balanced Assessment Corporation."

Apparently something was lost in translation. (Page 5)

Like the meaning of two-fifths.

Consortia Provide Preview of Common Assessments
By Catherine Gewertz
Published in Print: August 22, 2012