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Topic: a little light humor
Replies: 21   Last Post: Jul 11, 2008 1:49 PM

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Posts: 427
From: NYC
Registered: 6/26/05
Re: a little light humor
Posted: Jun 30, 2008 3:20 PM
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Yes - why not include a diagram?  Because SED wants the student to interpret the information.


why not include a diagram lets say

-----Original Message-----
From: Lidia Gonzalez <>
Sent: Mon, 30 Jun 2008 1:46 pm
Subject: Re: a little light humor

It?s a matter of what cultural references students from various backgrounds have.  If you favor the backgrounds of some over others by embedding the math in contexts that certain students are unfamiliar with then I would agree with Sharon and others who indicate that the exam question(s) is(are) not fair to some.  While I do not disagree that part of knowing mathematics is being able to apply it to real life contexts we need to be careful what contexts are used (why not include a diagram lets say) so that some students are not unfairly penalized because even though they know the math, they do not share the same cultural references as those valued by the test makers.  We can as teachers talk about and introduce various context and types of problems but these high stakes exams should be written more carefully with respect to contexts.  There are a number of individuals that write extensively about this.  W. F. Tate (1994, I believe) has a great and compelling article about this.

--Lidia G   

On 6/29/08 6:22 PM, "" <> wrote:

On Long Island, many homes have rectangular walkways, where the rectangle is outlined in bricks, and the area within the rectangle is cement.  So if I lived in Long Island, and all the walkways I saw had bricks around the perimeter, might I not assume that although the problem said 54 SQUARE feet of brick, that I might have to find perimeter?  I'm not saying that this is the correct way to interpret a problem, but if SED is giving REAL LIFE APPLICATION - then these kids didn't get a fair shake.


And then the thought process is - how could it be a RECTANGULAR  walkway if it

is around a garden?  Aha!  Rectangular means it has the shape of a rectangle.  

Much younger students can tell you that.



-----Original Message-----

From: numb3rs314 <>


Sent: Sat, 28 Jun 2008 7:59 am

Subject: Re: a little light humor

And then the thought process is - how could it be a RECTANGULAR  walkway if it

is around a garden?  Aha!  Rectangular means it has the shape of a rectangle.  

Much younger students can tell you that.

For those who think the test should be strictly about math and not reading  -  

part of math is learning problem solving capabilities.  Students are not going

to use a lot of this in life (as they always tell me) but they do need to learn

how to think.  Solving math problems is partially a reading test.  Students must

read and translate English into algebra.  I tell them it's another language they

are learning.

If they can't read and translate the problems by the time they get to this

class, the solution is not dumbing down the test.  Go back to the root cause and

fix it!


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