The double meaning of “ratio” in U.S. school mathematics is a phenomenon that goes back as far as Euclid. On the one hand, a ratio of two numbers is written as a pair, e.g., 3 to 1. On the other, a trigonometric ratio is a single number, e.g., the sine of pi/6 is one half—not 1 to 2. (Ratios of more than two numbers do not have this double interpretation, so are not part of this discussion.) Read the rest of this entry »
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 »
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.
Comments on Goodman’s “Comparison of Proposed US Common Core Math to Standards of Selected Asian Countries”
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 »
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 »
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 »