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Author Topic: What my students are being taught in K-12  (Read 11154 times)
Distinguished Senior Member
Posts: 1,814

« Reply #45 on: April 30, 2012, 7:47:20 pm »

One was a multiple choice question in which the students had to put numbers in ascending order, but the correct answer was not one of the choices.... I know who's not getting my vote in the next school board election.
I hope they're better at putting numbers in descending order - a fairly important task if you're running an election. :)
Distinguished Senior Member
Posts: 1,740

« Reply #46 on: May 01, 2012, 9:05:31 am »

After listening to televised state education boards in my area over the last few months, I have come to the conclusion that the majority of elected officials are incapable of holding a bachelor's degree in anything other than "The Art of Saying Nothing Rational or Intelligible".

Boy, whatever school that offers that major must be *really* popular...
Distinguished Senior Member
Posts: 7,897

« Reply #47 on: May 01, 2012, 11:54:42 am »

I absolutely agree that students have to know how they will be graded, and the reasoning for doing it that way. What I think may help to resolve the tension you and I have over this is the implementation of the new Common Core State Standards, which demand far more written analysis and far less multiple choice testing. In both of our hypothetical cases here, this will avert the problem of all answers being potentially correct, since the student must mount a convincing (and accurate) rationale for his/her answer.
Disclaimer: The post was getting entirely too long, causing me to cut all of the background except for MsP's latest post.

I'm not seeing that in CCSSI. In fact, there are NO standards listed for any subject other than English Language Arts and Mathematics. Beyond the ability to read texts of the complexity found in science and history courses, there are no science and no social studies standards. The cynic in me wonders why. After all, it's not just in ELA and Mathematics where the "comparisons" of US students to the rest of the world fall short.

From what I can tell in comparing sets of state standards over the last 20 years to the CCSSI, all they've done in mathematics is rearrange the deck chairs. Most states already had standards in place (some adopted in the first five years of the current century) that were nearly identical to the CCSS. They've spent a lot of time and money doing things that most states had already done. I'm not impressed, and while I agree that requiring students to justify answers would improve things dramatically, I don't think the implementation of CCSS will be the saving grace here.

Color me cynical if you like, but I think we spend more time talking about standards than actually doing anything with them. We've been working on mathematics standards for 25 years or more (nearly 50, if you want to start with the "new math" movement), and in the last 10-to-15 years, there hasn't been a lot of movement. It's time to stop reinventing the standards and to start actually training teachers to the standards and letting them teach their students to the standards. That means that it's also time for textbook publishers to actually write textbooks to the standards rather than repackaging the 1950s arithmetic and claiming that the book addresses the latest standards. I haven't seen a single text for K-5 mathematics that is actually, truly, completely aligned with the standards since I started teaching at the college level a decade ago, and implementation won't truly happen until we get one (but preferably, more).


Alas, greatness and meaning are rarely coterminous with popular familiarity.
looks far too young to be a
Distinguished Senior Member
Posts: 11,583

i had fun once and it was awful

« Reply #48 on: May 01, 2012, 2:22:22 pm »

It's time to stop reinventing the standards and to start actually training teachers to the standards and letting them teach their students to the standards.


They are our servants.  They are like dogs.  Sometimes, they think they remember being wolves, but they are only dreaming.
Posts: 151

« Reply #49 on: May 01, 2012, 4:46:23 pm »

No, what's weak is when the student says "Bears hibernate because that's what my third-grade teacher says." instead of "The dormancy of bears is properly called 'hibernation' because their metabolisms slow and their body temperatures are reduced during the time period in question." Because there are no fully established guidelines, the teacher gets to say "For the purposes of this class, bears hibernate." Thus, for that class, you had better answer the question "Do bears hibernate?" with "Yes."

Yes, but he consideration of these issues is really the heart of science, and evaluating and testing them is scientific method. When teachers try to brush by these questions and to insist upon their own definitions "for the purpose of this class" they are actually denying their students access to the real content of the field.

Be careful what you ask for;  we don't want to see third-graders poking bears to see if they're hibernating!  Although I suppose the survivors would have learned a valuable lesson or two.
Senior member
Posts: 983

« Reply #50 on: May 02, 2012, 1:03:49 am »

It's time to stop reinventing the standards and to start actually training teachers to the standards and letting them teach their students to the standards.


YES.  As a current K-12 teacher, I'm tired of being handed a reinvented wheel all the damn time. 

"If you love books enough, books will love you back." - Among Others by Jo Walton
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