Mathematics and Education

A slow blog

Archive for February 2012

Considering What Evidence?

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In February, the Brookings Institution released its 2012 Brown Center Report on American Education. These comments concern Part 1 of the Brookings Report, “Predicting the Effect of the Common Core State Standards on Student Achievement,” especially those pertaining to the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics.

A minor oddity is that this section of the report begins by describing the CCSS as “written by teams of curriculum specialists.” This statement has a footnote which gives this URL. But the information at the URL says no such thing and is contradicted by the list of members of the writing groups here at the same web site. Read the rest of this entry »


Written by CK

February 23, 2012 at 1:45 pm

The Pipeline and the Trough

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In the U.S., women currently get about 29% of PhDs in mathematics. But, in PhD-granting mathematics departments only 13% of the faculty members are women.

Does this mean that women are dropping out between PhD and first job? No!

Does this mean that women are not getting hired in proportion to their share of PhDs? No!

The evidence is discussed in this article, called “The Pipeline and the Trough.”

The 29% and 13% are examples of what I call (respectively) “pipeline” and “trough” statistics. Relative to the “PhD pipeline,” a collection of tenured and tenure-track positions (e.g., positions in a math department) is like a trough. Periodically, the PhD pipeline feeds a few new PhDs into the trough, and periodically a few faculty members leak out, due to death or retirement. In general, the composition of the trough is slow to change. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by CK

February 15, 2012 at 9:55 pm