Mathematics and Education

A slow blog

Comments on Ravitch’s MLA Speech

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The historian Diane Ravitch gave a speech to the Modern Language Association on January 11 about the past, present and future of the Common Core State Standards which was posted on a Washington Post blog. There’s a lot to like about the speech when it comes to rethinking uses of tests and test scores. I’ve been in favor of caution about testing since at least 1999 (see my article here).

However, the speech has some statements that are unclear, appear unaware of research in mathematics education, or seem uninformed. Some concern:

 Characteristics of standardized tests.

 Field testing standards.

Developmental appropriateness of the CCSS.

Development of the CCSS.

Details are below. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by CK

February 13, 2014 at 9:09 am

Understanding Underrepresentation

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. . . is the title of my article in the Mathematical Intelligencer on the distribution of women in mathematics and other fields. I’ve posted the manuscript version here. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by CK

January 11, 2014 at 11:11 am

1 HIt, 1 Miss for the EMB Theory

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Simon Baron-Cohen’s Extreme Male Brain theory proposes that autistic people have an amplification of cognitive features considered typical of males. Associated with this conjecture about cognitive behavior are conjectures about brain anatomy, i.e., that brain regions which differ, on average, between the males and females whose brains have been studied, will also differ between autistic and non-autistic people.

Biological Sex affects the Neurobiology of Autism,” an article by Baron-Cohen and colleagues, describes findings from a study that examined brain anatomy via MRI scans. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by CK

August 20, 2013 at 2:32 pm

Posted in Baron-Cohen

Comments on Goodman’s “Comparison of Proposed US Common Core Math to Standards of Selected Asian Countries”

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Summary. In July of 2010, Jonathan Goodman published a comparison of Common Core State Standards with curriculum documents from several Asian countries (China, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Taiwan). In my opinion, his analysis has some serious flaws. In this post, I give some examples. In an earlier post, I have given a brief overview of differences in national context, noting the different uses of standards and other documents in the U.S. and elsewhere. These different contexts and uses suggest how a U.S. reader’s expectations may lead to misinterpretation of documents from outside the U.S. In this post, I compare some of Goodman’s statements with the content of these documents in two ways: comments and detailed side-by-side comparisons. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by CK

August 4, 2013 at 4:12 pm

Comments on Milgram’s “Review of Final Draft Core Standards”

with one comment

Summary. In 2010 (apparently in June), Jim Milgram posted a review of the Common Core State Standards, comparing them with standards of high-achieving countries. In my opinion, his review misses some important details and makes some incorrect conclusions. In this post, I give some examples. In an earlier post, I have given a brief overview of differences in national context, noting the different uses of standards and other documents in the U.S. and elsewhere. These different contexts and uses suggest how a U.S. reader’s expectations may lead to misinterpretation of documents from outside the U.S. In this post, I discuss some assertions in the review and give some detailed side-by-side comparisons of comments with standards, teacher’s guides, and other documents. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by CK

August 4, 2013 at 3:55 pm

Interpreting Standards from Other Nations: Considerations of National Context

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Over the past decade, comparisons of U.S. standards for mathematics have been made with “standards” from other countries, e.g., national curriculum standards, syllabuses, or courses of study. Some of these comparisons overlook important details, resulting in conclusions whose accuracy could be improved considerably without much additional effort. This post gives a brief overview of two differences in national context that affect interpretation of documents from other countries, in particular, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan. (Further details are in an appendix at the end of this post.) The two posts that follow (here and here) discuss comparisons that have been made by (respectively) the mathematicians James Milgram and Jonathan Goodman. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by CK

August 3, 2013 at 1:42 pm

Parental and Family Leave for Graduate Students and Postdocs

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“Parental and family leave for graduate students and post docs: Policies and experiences” was a panel at the January 2013 Joint Mathematics Meetings in San Diego. Some references are:

My slides from the panel.

A comprehensive and succinct report: A Forgotten Class of Scientists: Examining the Parental and Family Benefits Available to Research Trainees.

The web site of the National Postdoctoral Association which has “Family-Friendly Resources for Postdocs.”

 

Written by CK

January 12, 2013 at 4:04 pm

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