A colleague in mathematics education, Prof. Ken Clements, sent the following note to me recently, and gave me permission to share it. It might be of interest.
********************* I have just been reading parts of Donovan A. Johnson's and Gerald R. Rising's (1967) "Guidelines for Teaching Mathematics" (Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing Co.), and came across the following statement, mostly buried in a footnote on page 22.
The main text "introduction" stated "Some people assume ... that lack of skill in computation is due to the 'new math' rather than recognizing that students of traditional mathematics also lacked computational skill."
Then the footnote said:
"In 1932 Schorling, studying over 200,000 students in grades 5-12, found that only 20% of the 12th-grade students could compute 2.1% of 60. In 1937 Taylor studied more than 2000 freshmen in teachers' colleges and found that more than half could not divide 175 by .35. In 1942 Admiral Nimitz reported that 68% of 4200 freshmen of 27 United States universities and colleges were unable to pass the arithmetical-reasoning portion of the examination for entering the Naval Reserve Officers' Training Corps. In 1942 Brueckner, conducting a national survey, found that the arithmetical competence throughout the country was even worse than the Nimitz report indicated."
All good wishes.
Jerry P. Becker Dept. of Curriculum & Instruction Southern Illinois University Carbondale, IL 62901-4610 USA Fax: (618)453-4244 Phone: (618)453-4241 (office) E-mail: JBECKER@SIU.EDU