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

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Brian Harvey

Posts: 127
Registered: 12/6/04
Re: California SAT-9 Testing.
Posted: May 26, 2000 12:28 PM
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"Bruce M. Ikenaga" <> writes:
> 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.

I was with you until the last line. Shouldn't that be
"whatever works best for each individual kid"? Society has
an interest, too, of course, but to my eye the central meaning
of your post is that rigid tracking may work for society, on
average, at the expense of particular kids who might have done
better with more opportunity/encouragement.

By the way, getting back to the "algebra for all" debate:
Even if one thinks that some kids can't do algebra, I'd like to
suggest that performance in elementary school arithmetic isn't
necessarily the best predictor. I'm an example; I hated
arithmetic, finding it boring beyond belief. I did okay at it
because I was a pretty compliant kid, but I wasn't an arithmetic
star. But the day I got into algebra class it was like fireworks
going off in my head, and I read the entire textbook in a week.
I suspect I'm not unique in this respect -- lots of kids find
arithmetic boring, and some of them aren't so compliant, and
therefore end up in remedial math in high school.

So maybe every kid should get a shot at algebra, even if we don't
insist that every kid be a success at algebra.

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