Date: Oct 13, 2012 6:09 PM
Author: Robert Hansen
Subject: Re: Algebra Preparation
So I gave my son this test and he did pretty well, 75%, which was actually better than I expected, him having not been exposed to a test like this before. He had a solid understanding of zero and one in addition and multiplication. He also whizzed through the problems involving parenthesis or those that implied parenthesis through their wording. He did well with units and dollars and cents. He fell short on the problem 15-14+13-12... He actually answered it, but directly rather than seeing the pattern of 1+1+1+... He also fell short on the problems like 205 times 205 divided by 205, and 60 x 60 = 20 x 20 x ? He almost got that last one except he only had one factor of 3 rather than 2 (one for each 20).

Overall, I was quite encouraged by the exercise and 4th grade seems like a good time to start since the students have enough operational understanding at this age to start. I think the problems he missed were quite revealing, more so than a traditional "skill" problem. Obviously, you need the skill problems first, but the results of this test were more revealing of the result of those skill problems and point me (the teacher) in the right direction. I am going try to get the national results of some of these exams so that I can do the item analysis on them that I did with the TIMSS results. I think there is some valuable insight to be had regarding the hamming order of these higher (more clever) skills in these results.

Bob Hansen

On Oct 13, 2012, at 12:56 AM, Robert Hansen <bob@rsccore.com> wrote:

> Here is what I consider good preparation for the eventual introduction of a student to algebra...

>

> http://www.mathleague.com/ml-files/grade_4_2004-05_contest.pdf