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Topic: California SAT-9 Testing.
Replies: 13   Last Post: May 30, 2000 9:39 PM

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Don Blasingame

Posts: 35
Registered: 12/6/04
Re: California SAT-9 Testing.
Posted: May 26, 2000 1:01 AM
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As a footnote to your post, it is my understanding that Japan does not track
students and their elementary and middle school classes are heterogeneous in
terms of ability.
"Bruce M. Ikenaga" <> wrote in message
> In k12.ed.math Michael Greene <> wrote:
> >
> >> On Thu, 25 May 2000 05:37:02 GMT, "Don Blasingame"
> >> <> wrote:
> >>

> >>>"Michael Greene" <> wrote in message
> >>>news://
> >>>

> >>>> On Wed, 24 May 2000 13:08:29 GMT, "Don Blasingame"
> >>>> <> wrote:
> >>>>
> >>>>can anyone recite a classic case of where "algebra for all" worked?
> >>>>we will implement algebra for all incoming freshmen this fall, and
> >>>>it would be nice to know what we can expect, or what others have
> >>>>done that were successful.

> >>>
> >>> Japan, Taiwan, Singapore are countries that have
> >>> demonstrated that almost all 13 year olds can handle
> >>> algebra.

> >>
> >>where has mastery of algebra by Japanese, Taiwanese, and Singapore 13
> >>year olds been shown?
> >>

> > The TIMSS tests which are available at UCLA and Boston
> > College, test Algebra in the 8th grade.
> >
> > The top 5% of the U.S. population were ranked at the 50
> > percentile when compared against the Singaporans. When
> > scored against the Japanese, they fared a little better and
> > scored in the top third.

> We should always try to do better, and if these kinds of
> comparisons encourage us to try harder, that's fine.
> I asked a couple of colleagues --- one educated in Japan,
> the other educated in China --- about the success high-school
> kids in their countries had in learning math. They told me
> several things which show that one should be careful in
> making comparisons.
> First, high school is apparently not mandatory, at least
> not through age 18, as is common in the U.S. I think the age
> is 16 in Japan, and there may not be a requirement for
> high school in the PRC.
> It sounds from my colleagues' descriptions as though there
> is much stronger tracking by ability, and done much earlier,
> than we have here. I asked my colleague from Japan what kids
> who drop out before age 16 might do. He replied that they
> might become laborers --- but also, they might apprentice as
> chefs, or (he said with a straight face) as stand-up comics!
> High school admissions also seems to be competitive, based
> on regional examinations. Not everyone *can* go.
> I gather from my Chinese colleague's comments that the
> percentage of kids in the PRC who complete high school is
> rather low --- he said around 60% in urban areas, less in
> rural areas.
> Both agreed that there were *plenty* of kids who couldn't
> do math. They wouldn't show up in tests of high school kids,
> because they'd never make it to high school. In other words,
> those educational systems aren't universally successful as
> far as math goes. The tests may make them *seem* successful,
> because they are testing only the successful students.
> (I gleaned these observations from informal conversation,
> and it's possible that I misunderstood something --- so if
> someone else knows more about the educational systems in
> those countries, feel free to correct me.)
> It's not much fun to try to teach people who don't want
> to learn. On the other hand, I'm glad that we *don't* give
> up on kids too quickly. The point is not simply to raise
> test scores, after all --- it is to do whatever works best
> for the society as a whole.
> -----
> Bruce Ikenaga
> Dept. of Math, P.O. Box 1002, :::::::::::::::::::
> Millersville University,
> Millersville, PA 17551-0302

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