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Topic: Re(4): re:Annenburg Math/Sciece list
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Richard Fouchaux

Posts: 70
Registered: 12/6/04
Re(4): re:Annenburg Math/Sciece list
Posted: Aug 6, 1995 4:20 AM
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Ted Alper wrote . . .

> [. . . my previous post making fun of Kent's quiz . . .]<

>Oh, come on. I would hope that everyone on this list (save the person
>who couldn't think of any *uses* for the angle addition formulas) would
>consider this sort of material an essential PART of a trigonometry
>course -- certainly it's hard to believe that anyone who couldn't do these
>problems could be considered to have mastered trigonometry.

Yes, and I also received a personal reply from Mr. Luteman admonishing me for
my "glibness" and informing me of the high level of achievment expected and
obtained at the institution where he teaches, of which I have no doubt.

I received only two A+s in my entire time in high school. One was in
probability, the other in trigonometry. I was subjected to countless quizzes
and tests of the type described in the original post. I happen to be good at
taking tests. I must confess, here in NCTM-L for all to see, that at the
present time I remember virtually none of my trig - were I required to teach
it I would have to learn it all over again first. I consider it my
responsibility to my students try my utmost to present material to them in
such a way that they might not only retain it, but perhaps even enjoy it.

>Now, how much class time should be spent on this is another story -- but
>there's nothing a priori wrong with a few minutes at the start of class,
>or "hundreds of these type problems" over the course of a semester.
>Having this stuff at your fingertips makes understanding the juicier
>things much easier, and not understanding this stuff makes all the rest
>a vague noise.

Again, having set all glibness aside, I agree. I'd like to ask Kent a serious
question or two now. How much class time *do* you spend on this, and more
significantly, how much are these quizzes weighted in evaluation? Are they
diagnostic, or summative? Are they also used (formally) to evaluate the
effectiveness of the program?

I did not mean to suggest that quizzes are a priori wrong - indeed they are a
usefull tool that I employ quite liberally. However, I would weight one word
problem in which students had to choose correctly from six (or more) methods
to solve a problem (or just invent one that works) more heavily than a
semester or a year's worth of high-stress, low-cognitive-level quizzes. I
would also suggest that there are *many* other ways to practice algorithms and
to assess students' mastery thereof.

Richard Fouchaux


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