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Topic: Re: Educators say CSAP scores demonstrate need for earlier preparation
in algebra and geometry

Replies: 4   Last Post: Aug 2, 2001 11:35 AM

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Steve Cottrell

Posts: 97
Registered: 12/6/04
Re: Educators say CSAP scores demonstrate need for earlier preparation in algebra and geometry
Posted: Aug 2, 2001 11:35 AM
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>children who "struggle more with the
> time required to record the answer rather than the time required to
> perform the computation"

The first student who comes to mind, and he is an extreme case,
is my secretary's son. In the early weeks of his 4th grade class
experience, the teacher had a daily activity where students were to
write the answers to a page of arithmetic computations in a fixed
time. It was a race; speedy response was the goal. Jeff knew
his math facts quite well, but his penmanship was terrible and he
never finished in time. He was failing his math until his mother
intervened. The teacher did not know, and Jeff was not going to
tell her, that he suffers from a benign tremor problem that
substantially impairs fine motor skills. After that, the teacher
tested Jeff orally or allowed more time for him to complete his page
of problems. His problem was not one that was even related to his
ability to respond to the mathematical task. It just took a longer
time to record the answers.

Of course, every good teacher makes accomdations for the kind of
problem Jeff has. It's certainly a special needs situation. But in
the elementary grades particularly, as students are just developing
skill with writing and with fine motor tasks like coding a bubble
sheet for a standardized test form, some are much faster than
others. A timed test puts those students at a disadvantage and
does not measure their mathematics skill.

Of course, I do expect students to develop considerable facility
with mathematical facts and computations. But a test or
classroom activity that is timed MAY only measure speed of motor
skill rather than speed of mathematical skill.

Steve Cottrell
Mathematics Supervisor K-12
Davis School District
P.O. Box 588
Farmington, UT 84025-0588

Phone 801-402-5123
Fax 801-402-5333

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