\doc\web\98\05\probtest.txt
Talked with Barbara Chamberlain at the Commission on Student
Learning. She was the Chair of the Math Committee. She taught high
school math, and has a masters in Math.
brick wall
--+ flag
| pole
| | fire hydrant
--+ | +
/ /
/
shadows
Flag pole / shadow measuring problem - it's a fourth grade estimation
math problem you measure each brick and count the bricks on the wall
to measure how high the flagpole. [same solution given by the PI]
Never mind that the fire plug and shadows are identical to the well
known use proportionality to measure the height of a tall object by
its shadow method. Never mind the problem says nothing about
estimating. Never mind that at least one 4th grade site DOES think
4th graders can use proportionality to measure flagpoles with
proportionality. Never mind it looks like no adult on the committee
knows the classic solution, and it was a mistake to issue any sample
questions without detailed solution rubrics.
Draw a design on a geoboard. 4th says understand symmetry, 7th says
construct a symmetric figure. Well using a geoboard isn't the same as
construction. (Funny, I thought constructing was the same as
drawing), so it's 4th grade.
What's the probablity of heads if Juan got 13 heads out of 20 tosses?
Certain/ Uncertain is 4th, Calculate probablity is 7th grade,
independent probability is 10th grade. Well, the kids should know
that tossing a coin is always 1 out of 2, that's not the same as
calculating probability. It's running an experiment (like you're
going to flip a coin 20 times, keeping track of how many times they
got exactly 13 heads, and then see compute take an average of what
they got on the 21st try???) They don't have to know independent
probability to figure this out (then why include 13 out of 20 tries
to confuse them??? And why is calculating a probability specified at
7th and not 4th grade?)
Use ruler to measure how many cards will fit in a box. Well, that not
a rate problem, 4th graders do it all the time (then why is rate at
the 7th grade, and doing this sort of thing not mentioned by any
other name??)
Which pizza gives you the most for your money? 8x10, 10x12, 7x11
Measure area of rectangle directly = 4, by width and height = 7.
Well, maybe, maybe you have a problem, I'd have to have a committed
look at it.
My question is why she insists at the outset that of course these are
all 4th grade problems instead of figuring out all these contorted
ways of warping the benchmarks to math 4th grade level instead of
saying right off the bat "Hey, maybe somebody goofed and maybe you
could be right, and this is a serious problem?" Isn't this the
attitude of the entire education industry with respect to problems
with this test???