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Topic: Character assasination
Replies: 1   Last Post: Jun 26, 1995 8:58 AM

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Tad Watanabe

Posts: 442
Registered: 12/6/04
Re: Character assasination
Posted: Jun 26, 1995 8:58 AM
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I'm not sure if I would interpret the phrase you quoted in the same way
as you did. To me, the Standards is cautioning us agains the use of a
single assessment instrument/method. I think this was always a concern
for math teachers. If you teach young children, you want to make sure
your math assessment if indeed assessing students' mathematics
understanding, not their language ability - which often interfers with
students' performance on written tests. Or, if you have students from
inner city, a math problem involving "garage" may not make much sense to
them, not necessarily because they don't understand math but because they
cannot relate to the context in which the problem is embedded.

I have once watched a video-taped interview of a first grader who
couldn't do simple arithmetic like 2 + 3 when it was presented to him
using the plastic numerals and symbols. He was having trouble counting
his fingers after he put up two and three fingers. But, when he was
dealing with an activity involving dot cards (show a card with several
dots on it for briefly and ask how many dots s/he saw) he could use
reasoning like, "There were 6 because you can move one dot to make a
'6'." Obviously, this kid will not succeed in a regular written test,
but, I would say he brings with his something very powerful in
understanding numbers.

Another thing the Standards emphasizes is that we match the type of
assessment with the purposes of the assessment. It may be appropriate
sometime to assess students so that you can find out where they are
compared to the "norm." Then, there are occasions when such information
is not the main objective of assessment.

So, overall, I think the quote you included makes really good sense to
me. It is not advocating to assess students on what kind of a person
s/he is. In fact, I'm not sure if it is a good idea to assess students
on "what kind of mathematician s/he is" either. After all, a
mathematician is a person, too.

Tad Watanabe
Towson State University
Towson, Maryland

On Sun, 25 Jun 1995 wrote:

> Folks-
> A couple of days ago I made the following post which I stand behind.

> >BTW. Why isn't everyone buzzing over the Assessment Standards? I'm
> particularly interested in the "Equity Standard" >on pages 15 and 16.

> >On page 15, "Assessments have too often ignored differences in students'
> experiences, physical condition, gender, ethnic, >cultural, and social
> backgrounds in an effort to be fair. This practice has led to assessments
> that do not take differences >among students into account."

> >Lovely. So standards to the NCTM really mean standards depending on not what
> kind of mathematician you are, but >rather what type of person you are.
> I stand behind this post. However, in the past several days, It's been said
> explicitly and implicitly that I'm:
> a) paranoid in a public post
> b) a threat to my students in a private post
> c) a racist in a private post.
> I really don't care that much except this pretty well parallels the kind of
> treatment one encounters if you challenge the conventional wisdom of the
> academy and in this case the NCTM.( And please don't misunderstand, the NCTM
> isn't involved in this in anyway except it happened on this forum.) This kind
> of abuse reflects a McCarthyism of the Left where any disagreement
> automatically labels you as paranoid or a racist.
> Imagine believing equity really means equal treatment, then being labeled a
> racist for it. Under these rules MLK was one hell of a racist, wasn't he?
> But that's America of the 1990's for you. Interesting, isn't it?
> Aloha
> Dan Hart

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