June 29, 2014

Common Core … making math as difficult as possible [Darleen Click]

Is it any wonder the Common Core testing is still on the level of national secrets?

Well America, the Common Core-aligned standardized tests that Common Core supporters have zealously trumpeted as college-related and so dramatically superior to all previous standardized tests are finally starting to trickle out for public consumption.

New York is one state that has released some Common Core tests. The tests for elementary school kids remain strictly guarded. However, other tests including the Common Core Algebra Regents test which eighth- and ninth-grade students took in early June – and must pass at some point to get high school degrees – are now available online.

The algebra test is shockingly awful.

This isn’t stupidity, this is government-mandated child abuse.

Over the jump, a video demonstrates Common Core math, where a 2-step, 10-seconds-to-solve problem now takes almost a full 2 minutes and 5 steps.

Posted by Darleen @ 10:57pm
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Comments (60)

  1. It might be a “different” way, but why is “different” automatically assumed to be “better” or “easier”? Yeah, it might work for someone who already knows how to get to the answer the traditional method to look for little tricks that would obviate the need for pen and paper or a calculator, but that comes AFTER the child has already learned the simplest method, that of using standard subtraction and carrying (if necessary, which it wasn’t in the case on display).

    They have needlessly and hopelessly confused the issue by introducing a lot of variables and multiple numbers to keep track of, and then hoping that the student can remember while he is doing all this adding, that he was SUPPOSED to be actually SUBTRACTING a number.

    And all because of No Child Left Behind, and its mandated attachment of test scores to Federal (read: taxpayer) funding of schools.

  2. ERRATUM: *using* the traditional method

  3. I’m starting to suspect Examination Day may not be all that far off…

  4. Harrison Bergeron …

  5. - Note: Link for tomorrow’s SCOTUS live blog here.

    (H/T Sistertoldjha.com)

  6. No matter how one adds, subtracts or slices those numbers up, aren’t they all still “base 10?”

  7. at this rate somewheres round bout 2050 we be landing a man on the moon!

    now just think on that a spell

    and praise Jesus

  8. I didn’t bother watching because I’ve already heard enough. All one needs to do is memorize the addition/subtraction tables up to 10, and do the old “borrow and carry” method. It works just fine.

    I know plenty of mental tricks to do it faster, but that came after learning it the other way, and when my brain is tired I still do it the old way unless I’m at a computer.

    I imagine the way they teach multiplication is even worse.

  9. Okay, I just watched as much as I could stand.

    That is effing insane.

    Home school!

  10. This is just helping kids wrap their head around uncapitalism in the unrepublic that we didn’t build. Math is a high technocratic guild tongue now to keep the dumbs away from knowledge so they can’t gainsay their betters (who are also dumbs, often much bigger dumbs).

    I’m going to get me one of those weird serf hoods and a tunic.

  11. I suspect the reason they came up with this crap is that the teachers are unable to do simple arithmetic. “We have to get used to it” ? No “we” don’t – fortunately I will have joined the choir invisible before I have to drive over a bridge, or fly in a plane designed by cretins taught this way.

    OTOH, I like this kid’s response, unfortunately, if he or she keeps this up, I can see regrooving in its future.

    Harrison Bergeron indeed – plants crave electrolytes.

  12. “No matter how one adds, subtracts or slices those numbers up, aren’t they all still “base 10?””

    Yeah. 32 is expressible in base 10 and all operations she did were carried out in base ten. At no point did she switch to octal or binary or anything. She considers counting by fives base ten.

  13. Do I hear hexadecimal?

  14. ComeonCore can’t just teach?: “Look, Rufus, just take 32 9mm rounds from Frumkin over there, jumble them in a pile in front of you — don’t matter how they jumble — take 12 of those from the pile to set aside over by Taweeza where she can watch they don’t jump back in they old pile — and then count hows many you gots left in tha old pile. It don’t take but a minute or so after you hammer Frumkin down. Easypeasy.”

  15. Teaching the “tables” by repetition until memorized along with “old “borrow and carry” method” works great for the kids but is just boring as hell for the teachers and it is all those good union Democrats in teaching and administration that all of the various “methods” are there for.

    This goes for reading as well as math.

  16. It was painfully, painfully obvious that that woman didn’t understand basic arithmetic. (Like, that 20 was a multiple of five, too. Or that numbers aren’t equivalent digits.)

  17. Heh…is it me, or does this method seem appropriate to nothing so much as to figuring out how to make correct change in a cash transaction?
    Common Core: Arithmetic for cashiers.

  18. Counting by “nickel sacks?”

  19. Common core class.

  20. - Did we finally turn a corner today?

    - Leading from “behind”?

  21. - Needless to say, the pearl clutching, hair pulling, screeching, and rending of clothes has begun in earnest over at HuffNPoop. (We brave the insanity of the Crystal Echo Chambers of Hell so you won’t have to.)

  22. BBH, screeching leftists who aren’t self-immolating haven’t gone far enough. I’ll be happy to supply matches…

  23. There is no such thing as a “Common Core Test”.

    There are tests for curricula that claim to be Core compliant, that claim to test to Core standards.

    But just like the curricula, they’re not part of Core, nor are any specifics of any such tests mandated by the Standards.

    NY is using “Core” as an excuse for making bad decisions about curricula and tests, just like they did before Core.

    (Geoffb said: Teaching the “tables” by repetition until memorized along with “old “borrow and carry” method” works

    You mean, like Core mandates?

    “Multiply a whole number of up to four digits by a one-digit whole number, and multiply two two-digit numbers, using strategies based on place value and the properties of operations” – means “borrow and carry”, just fancied up.

    Fluently multiply and divide within 100, using strategies such as the relationship between multiplication and division (e.g., knowing that 8 × 5 = 40, one knows 40 ÷ 5 = 8) or properties of operations. By the end of Grade 3, know from memory all products of two one-digit numbers.

    “Know from memory all products of two one-digit numbers” sounds pretty “table-y”, and there’s no ban on memorization if it works, which it does.

    Am I the only person that bothered to look at the damned Standards before talking about them?)

  24. A grievous off-topic note: It appears the bodies of the three Israeli teens kidnapped near Hebron have been found north of that city. The Israeli government hasn’t made an official announcement yet, probably because it’s still attending to the boy’s parents, but there seems to be some official action on the way.

  25. What Common Core did was to bastardize Singapore Math (a program that works well, IMHO), misapply it, and thus make math education even worse.

    What this lady is doing (badly, probably due to bad training on the method) is applying the “number bond” concept that underlies Singapore Math, and doing it in a way that is decidedly NOT the preferred method for solving the problem. Teaching kids to think of numbers in bonded groups of other numbers is a preparatory step that makes understanding and applying transitive, associative, and distributive properties (for example) easier, and in a quicker timeframe than more traditional methods.

    Main problem is, Singapore Math is supposed to start at the K level, and work up from there. You can’t take these concepts, drop them on a 3rd or 4th grader who’s had no prior experience with the modeling concepts, and expect it to work well, if at all. What you end up with is the kinds of confusion, frustration, and justified exasperation of students and parents. As is typical with top-down, big government agency-run programs, they applied these programs without proper training or a valid plan of execution. They thought their diktat would change the reality of How Things Work, and left it at that.

    Of course this stuff is messed up. It’s Big Government. It’s what they do.

  26. Am I the only person that bothered to look at the damned Standards before talking about them?

    The issue is that crap as seen in the video will not get kids to the alleged standards in anything resembling a sane manner. In addition (you should pardon the pun), of your two examples, that used to be 2nd and 1st grade arithmetic respectively. However, as mentioned, teaching the old way that has been known to work for thousands of years requires that teachers know the subject, a point seriously in doubt.

  27. President Jeb or President Hillary both think it’s tits. And they’re prominent.

    So who are we to go all federalist?

  28. I think it’s more like Shanghai Math, where they just club you over the head and you wake up at sea.

  29. I had a hard time with memorizing the multiplication table as a kid because the answers didn’t seem to mean anything to me and they wouldn’t all stick in my head. I had to make up “cheats” to help me do the homework and pass the tests. For example, though I’m sure most kids were and still are taught the 9 times “trick,” I wasn’t taught it and had to discover it on my own (subtract 1 from a single-digit variable number and this is the first digit of the answer then subtract the variable from 10 to get the second digit). I made up numerous other short cuts and though I could get the right answers, I really felt like I wasn’t doing it the way I was supposed to be doing it.

    Yet now, despite being stupid and/or lazy (not to mention, old), I still know the basic multiplication table. I don’t have to resort to the tricks anymore, but they’re there if I have to check myself.

  30. I’ve long had a theory that the reason there is such an emphasis on reading readiness in early education is because it’s difficult to NOT teach a class of kids to read. Naturally, there is dyslexia and a few other learning problems that can be tutored and don’t involve math.

    Math is hard. Math takes practice. Math is a lot of rote learning. Math is a harsh mistress and brooks no mistakes. There is no easy way to learn long division, fractions, decimals, algebra, geometry and calculus without doing homework everyday. If you don’t like math—and most early ed teachers don’t—you don’t want to teach it. When you do teach it, you teach it poorly and telegraph your dislike to the class. And the more quickly you get through the lesson, the more quickly you can get back to making crafts.

  31. And that, class, is why education majors should all go on the B Ark, and subjects should be taught by people WHO KNOW THE FUCKING SUBJECT.

  32. McGehee, yep, and grade school arithmetic is hardly rocket surgery. Personally, I think all education majors should, upon graduation, immediately be forced to learn a useful skill such as pothole filling or levee sandbag filling.

  33. I’m all for shuttering the Education Majors at all colleges and universities. Back in the day, when most of our feared and fearless grade school teachers were in college, they went to Teachers College. Not to put too fine a point on it, they learned to teach not to indoctrinate their charges.

    My first through fifth grade teachers could teach two grades at the same time (combined classes) with over 30 pupils and you could hear a pin drop. They did everything from diagraming sentences, to teaching us how to address letters with the proper salutations and drilling us in multiplication tables to splinting broken bones from playground spills.

    And they did it all in heels.

  34. I’m all for shuttering the Education Majors at all colleges and universities.

    The second step is to get rid of all the useless administrative staff. In grade school in an average sized school in an average sized city, there was a principal, a secretary, a nurse, the lunch ladies, and a couple of janitor/groundskeepers. Same for middle & upper school, except to add a dedicated gym coach and headmaster for the two and delete the nurse; not a single “counselor” assistant or deputy whatever, or administrivia expert of any type in any of them.

  35. “We just want to stress the importance of doing math in different ways and it’s not just one way to do it.

    This makes a great deal of sense to me. Had a hard time with calculus as a teenager until it was presented as a physics problem or then later in Leibniz’s notation. Changing the framing of the same set of problems helped me break through some weird mental blocks I had developed by basically ignoring trig in high school and thereby never learning any sort of easily repeatable method.

    Wait… wait a second… they’re talking about arithmetic?

    I suspect the reason they came up with this crap is that the teachers are unable to do simple arithmetic.

  36. I mean, honestly, there is some value to this approach taken quite broadly. When you stop thinking about math as a particular set of steps but rather as a natural outcome of lots and lots of varied yet still functional different steps (internally logical from base precepts) then you’re learning actual math not just rote memorization.

    However, this is much like presenting children with the varied alphabets that can work as phonemes before they even know the alphabet. Better to just teach the alphabet and how it matches up with the sounds they make rather than jumping to a 201 level discussion of linguistics. It’s just out of order. Hook them on phonics first.

  37. To give an example, I successfully explained the time decay value of an option position to a biology major in drastically non-finance terms in a weird round about way like this lady.

    Kid was 22 or something though. Had a biology degree.

    For every kid who gets the idea of solving problems in (what appears to be but isn’t) non-algorithmic methods for fun and recreation, there’re another 99 who can’t make change when you give them an extra penny.

  38. If it interests anyone, the declining delta (insert ascii triangle symbol here) of any option position decays exactly like the decreasing growth prospects for any random bacterial growth on a petri dish after the maximum value is reached. Just one of those natural logs that is everywhere you look.

  39. Wait… wait a second… they’re talking about arithmetic?

    In this example, yep. What is more stupid is that to do things this way, you already have to be able to add and subtract, so it is basically going from Houston to Katy by way of Sydney, Australia. For algebra gone are the antiquated concepts of equations in favor of “number sentences”.

  40. there’re another 99 who can’t make change when you give them an extra penny.

    I remember when I went to a McDonald’s and the bill was something like $7.33. I dug through my pocket for some coins, gave them a $10, a nickel and three pennies. They looked at the coins like I had just asked them to throw away a dead bird, but I said, “Just punch the numbers in.”

    When the amount of my change came up, you could see the awe in this kid’s eyes, and the facial expression was like “You KNEW…”

    That was the moment I truly despaired for the next generation…

  41. Thanks be to god I’ve never come near having to teach a maths class of any sort, since that same god knows the class would have spent its entire time talking about beauty and hotness in hotnessed girls, and why it is that these things are all about maths. Oh, and where the name maths came from. But learning maths maybe a little though surely not enough.

  42. Distressing, ain’t it?

  43. Something that caught my ear when I was listening a moment ago is the blithe assumption that the student can remember that they should add 3 to twelve to get to the next multiple of five, while apparently not realizing what they would get by subtracting two from two or ten from thirty (using the old method).

  44. Thanks be to god I’ve never come near having to teach a maths class of any sort, since that same god knows the class would have spent its entire time talking about beauty and hotness in hotnessed girls, and why it is that these things are all about maths.

    And now I’m wondering about the ascii code for phi.

  45. First heard about that particular beauty from a nun, btw, sdferr. Teaching my own dumb self straight from the Elements because she found it interesting herself (I’m assuming).

  46. Yeats, Among School Children, st. VII:

    Both nuns and mothers worship images,
    But those the candles light are not as those
    That animate a mother’s reveries,
    But keep a marble or a bronze repose.
    And yet they too break hearts – O Presences
    That passion, piety or affection knows,
    And that all heavenly glory symbolise -
    O self-born mockers of man’s enterprise;

  47. Damn, that’s some freakishly appropriate verse.

  48. Yeats was a skirt chaser, after all. (And I guess at least began a Catholic)

  49. I should mention here that I hate hate hate auto-play. A curse unto us.

  50. that’s what keeping task manager open on tool bar is for

  51. I really do find it quite interesting that so many of us have a similar take on this topic.

    That we do the basic reckoning in any random way we find useful as adults but we can only do so easily because earlier rote training has given us a certain ease with any basic arithmetic (and quite probably basic algebra, geometry, etc).

  52. having had a paper route reenforce the basics for me. collecting the money required doing the math in your head.

  53. She went from Counting by “nickel sacks?” to counting by “dime bags.”

  54. “They looked at the coins like I had just asked them to throw away a dead bird, but I said, “Just punch the numbers in.””

    Heh. When I was growing up they’d fight not to give you any quarters in your change. ‘Cause I’d probably go waste ‘em on the vidja game in the laundromat across the street.

    ” It’s four dimes, six nickels, and 5 pennies for you lad! George is staying with me. “

  55. bh, (great to see you by the way) there is absolutely nothing wrong with rote learning, regardless of all the faddish talk about how it doesn’t “work.” I think I can say with confidence that all of us here learned that way and it worked just fine. Music reinforces the same counting patterns in our brains and as much as we all hated music lessons, they helped to pave the way for higher mathematics later on.

    I once used figured out how many board feet of lumber I needed for a home improvement project by mentally turning it into an algebra problem in my head while at the lumber yard. For my own purposes, I put the lie to the “you’ll never use it in real life” line my peers were keen on. Granted, since I was exactly right, it was probably a fluke.

  56. I am a victim of New Math.

    It snuck in fourth grade and damaged permanently any math abilities I possessed

  57. There was the time I was tasked with designing a patio and the high schooler I was working with was impressed with my resort to Pythagoras. “Wow, you really DO use it in real life!”

  58. “Wow, you really DO use it in real life!”

    Sad to say, I most often encounter this sentiment in adults nowadays with regard to the Constitution of the United States. Seems like for many of these, not to say all, that document is understood as a purely theoretical matter, as distant from the real world s0-called as Euclid’s definition of a point.

    Fuckin’ nuts, right? Where in the hell did the idea that politics is theoretical — ever! — come from?

    Ah, the New Left (with a hat-tip to geoffb), maybe? Surely in part.

  59. No, Sdferr, in full.

  60. No Bob, not, to be blunt about it. There are at least two streams of attack on us (roughly represented by Marx and Comte, or in another figure, as namely History and Science), which though they are occasionally (actually often) intermixed today, should, I think — for good reason — be carefully preserved in our minds.

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