Date: Oct 2, 2012 9:06 AM
Author: GS Chandy
Subject: Re: An Algebra 2 Test

Robert Hansen (RH) posted Oct 2, 2012 3:49 PM (GSC's remarks follow):
> So here are released problems from the California CST
> Algebra 2 exam...

> >From the standpoint of skills, these problems have
> good coverage. Namely...
> Polynomial Arithmetic
> Factoring and Simplification
> Simultaneous Equations
> Graphing
> Probability
> Conic Sections
> Binomial Expansion
> Logs and Exponents
> Absolute Value and Radicals
> Complex Numbers
> But from the standpoint of problems, this exam has
> hardly any and of the few problems it does have, they
> are just direct adaptations of the skills. For
> example, restating a simultaneous equation directly
> into words...
> "For a wedding, Shereda bought several dozen roses
> and several dozen carnations. The roses cost $15 per
> dozen, and the carnations cost $8 per dozen. Shereda
> bought a total of 17 dozen flowers and paid a total
> of $192. How many roses did she buy?"
> The SAT and ACT have better questions than this.
> Skills are important, they go with the territory, but
> this test doesn't even hint at the territory. This
> test does not embody the algebraic nor mathematical
> reasoning which is required to apply in a context
> that uses it, like physics.
> How many of you, if it were your own son or daughter,
> would stop at this skill based exam?
> Bob Hansen

Ahhh. At last we do have a real set of 'problems' for an 'Algebra 2' exam - though apparently we had to raid the pantry of the California school exam system to get it. No matter. Something is there at last.

I've not checked through the problems - but the topic list posted by RH does seem - to my foreign eyes - pretty sound for an 'Algebra 2' exam (in fact, it's a bit more than we would expect in an 'Algebra 2' exam in India).

None of the above mitigates against any of the observations made in my post dated Oct 2, 2012 2:06 AM -

None of the above speaks to the underlying issue of "developing an effective education system" (or systems).

None of the above speaks to the issue of motivating students to learn effectively.

None of the above speaks to the issue of motivating teachers to teach effectively.

None of the above speaks to the issue of whether there is actually an 'Education Mafia' that is responsible for the perceived dire straits of the US public school system (dire as perceived by some, not all, of our interlocutors here).

None of the above speaks to the issue of whether this 'Education Mafia' should actually be shoved mercilessly into jail, or whether the schools of education should be blown up (as has been recommended by some of our interlocutors here).

("Still Shoveling Away!")

Message was edited by: GS Chandy