Sunday, January 25, 2009

Will the Seattle PI eventually get it?

Here is an editorial from the Seattle PI

WASL Gets a Downhill Test


The PI is one of the many Washington Newspapers that endorsed Dr. Bergeson for re-election.

From the editorial:

We like the sound of Dorn's plan to shorten testing and provide better diagnostic tools on where students need extra help. But common sense suggests that it is easier to get good feedback on students' performance with more test questions, not fewer.
............ so should we have 120 days per year of testing?

Here is comment #23 in the comment section:

Posted by 2Pi
at 1/25/09 12:58 p.m.

Whether this is a step forward or backward depends entirely on what happens next.

I've taught math related courses at UW for a decade. I can tell you incoming freshmen are often grossly unprepared for college level scientific work. I'm not the only one who thinks this.

I've looked at the wasl material. Any high schooler thinking of college should be able to pass the math portion. Anybody thinking of a technical career should be ready for much more difficult exams in their first year (think AP calculus level).

However the current exam is based on some sort of "reform" or "discovery" math and it is not good. Going back to a more traditional curriculum designed by the math pros (and not the math ed crowd) would be better.

On high school math tests, fast grading of right or wrong is preferable to slow grading of their written "explanation". Students need to quickly see which problems they did wrong so they can focus their practice on those areas.

But the most important thing is that we as a society have got to quit facilitating innumeracy by allowing excuses like "my brain doesn't work that way" or "its the teacher/curriculum/textbook's fault" or whatever. The number of deflections used by the modern student (or parent) to justify their non-performance is staggering. In reality they're not doing the two things needed to succeed in math: do problems, and ask questions.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I would not be quoting Hewitt in an effort to criticize Dorn.

Some of his own party despise him:

"Mike Hewitt has failed the Republicans on all fronts. Our leadership is drowning and like those who drown they are lashing out at and pulling down those who may be able to save them. Hewitt's personal issues and unprofessional conduct will drop us even further into the abyss of becoming a meaningless entity."