kitchen table math, the sequel: 11/3/13 - 11/10/13

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Help desk, Common Core edition

Cruising Common Core materials (there seem to be lots on Prezi), I find this (slide title: "Two Types of Essential Questions: Overarching and Topical"):

Isn't there one right answer to "how many ways can we achieve the sum of 23"?

Isn't the answer: "There are an infinite number of ways to achieve the sum of 23"?

Another thing: would this question be asked, in this way, in combinatorics? (In the time I've spent trying to learn combinatorics, I haven't encountered a question with more than one right answer. Nor did I encounter a question with an answer of infinity.)

(And how is this question "topical"?)

I am watching in amazement as Common Core rolls across the land.

It's as if every constructivist in the country has suddenly been handed a lifetime prescription for anabolic steroids.

All those years of No Child Left Behind and Adequate Yearly Progress must have created a massive pent-up desire in the breasts of America's educators to conduct mini-lessons and ask math questions with no right answer.

GRE scores by intended field of study for college seniors

Source: Educating School Leaders, p 32

Steve H on the mailing list

Have just read this comment by Steve H:
My son also has a college brochure stack two feet tall. He also made the comment that if you put your hand over the name of the college, you could not tell which one it is. (That would make a good YouTube video. Name This College.) I also liked the survey where they asked students why they got into a top college and the general response was: "I have no clue whatsoever." For others, however, it seemed like the extra oblong interest and special talent made the difference. It has to be special or at some particularly high level.

Unfortunately, the segment talks only about the most egregious application mistakes and stupid parents. I would like to be a fly on the wall when admissions people make the final decision. After they process race, gender, sports, and alumni parents, (grades are given), there will still be many to choose from - maybe one in five. what are the deciding factors? It might depend on whether you catch the eye of one of the strong or powerful admissions people. It might be your essay that does it, but it might also be your special talent.
Steve is in his year of viewing viewbooks are a world unto themselves.

My favorites were the ones from Grinnell, which were so striking, and so indecipherable in terms of who the intended audience was supposed to be and what message we were supposed to be taking away, that I kept scans.

What is the story Grinnell is telling prospective parents with these images?

After the mean girls reject your son, he'll gel his hair and take up violin?

And this is worth $50k a year?

By the way, if I were the parents of the three girls, I would have been furious. They are sisters whose parents -- both university professors in Kabul -- immigrated from Afghanistan. They're beautiful girls, and Grinnell had no business a) taking a photo like that and b) using it to promote the college.

Of course, maybe the parents weren't consulted. Which makes it even worse.