Thursday, March 13, 2008

Disturbing Video on the Decline of U.S. Math Skills

Q: What does a major state university do when test scores on a precalculus math exam for incoming freshmen continue to decline year after year, while at the same time high school GPAs of incoming freshmen are going up?

A: If your answer is "make the test easier," go to the head of the class!

Watch a disturbing video on the decline in math skills for college students (click twice on the arrow above), with an explanation for why it has been happening ("reform math"), and some ways to solve the problem (abandon "reform math").

Thanks to
Oak Norton for the pointer.

See a previous CD post on the huge shortage of IT professionals and the lack of technology talent in the U.S.. Thanks to "reform math," that huge shortage will likely continue.


At 3/14/2008 5:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Deputy Treasury Secretary Robert Kimmitt dismissed on Friday fears about the weakness of the dollar, saying overseas investors would need to continue holding U.S. Treasuries.

"We watch very closely the investment decisions of investors in all classes of U.S. securities, including governments buying U.S. securities. We continue to think that investors overseas, including governments, need to hold U.S. Treasuries as part of a diversified portfolio," Kimmitt said on CNN television.

This guy must have taken a few of those courses.

At 3/14/2008 12:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Apparently, attention spans have also declined. Above 2 posts have nothing to do with the subject.

There are many good resources and organizations on the web:

There are many organizations that help through online learning and live tutoring as well as volunteer programs in their local communities. The web offers greater leverage for learning through the ability of the web to reach beyond 30 kids in a classroom to hundreds if not thousands of students around the globe.

We live in an age where the entire contents of the Library of Congress can be transmitted across the country in less than 20 minutes and the ultimate tool for knowledge and empowerment with a few clicks on a mouse.

What does one do about a problem?

One can vent and handwring but the problem remains. Alternatively, one can analyse the problem, tailor an action plan to address the needs of the student, monitor the results and adjust the plan as required.

This approach requires that one take responsibility for solving the problem rather than expecting the solution to drop from the sky or blaming others for failing to know what our kids need. As a parent, we have to appreciate that a teacher sometimes does not have the time to spend with each student and that we have an advantage, we know our kids very well better than someone who has them in a class for a few months.

We all remember being young and reticent to put up our hand when we did not understand. A teacher cannot be a mind reader. If we want our kids to succeed, we as parents have to take part in the process.

At 3/15/2008 11:57 AM, Blogger bobble said...

"See a previous CD post on the huge shortage of IT professionals and the lack of technology talent in the U.S.. Thanks to "reform math," that huge shortage will likely continue. "

well, not really. during the dot com boom, when IT salaries were going up there was a huge increase in IT graduates. about that time the IT market became flooded with cheap IT labor from India, driving IT wages down. in fact, since 2000, the starting salaries for computer science graduates have declined. and guess what, so have the number of computer science graduates. its simple economics. kids see that they will be competing with third world wages and pick another major.

the best way to get more american IT graduates is to stop the H1B visa program, and let wages rise. simple economics

At 3/15/2008 11:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting that he quotes from the Fordham Foundation - one of the most conservative, back to basics organizations out there. They have been against almost every reform initiative. These are the same people who have scared Americans from the past two and a half decades with A Nation at Risk.


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