RadicallyLiberal wrote:The problem being, without a competent introduction to algebra, you don't just level off current high tech & theoretical student numbers, you will heavily reduce them. Until children are introduced to them, you never know their aptitude.
The Gooch wrote:I sure hope the Engineer who builds the engines for the airplane I am flying in doesn't have their bar lowered. Just sayin'.
DA_Champion wrote:Kate Shaw wrote:No, they are multiplication. No XY/CD = (2X)(4)-Y squared involved.
Multiplication is a subset of algebra.
For example the 20% discount, that means multiply the price by 4/5. How do you think I know that?
I suppose there's no need to know that, you can ask your iphone.
BlawBlaw wrote:I think the people having a field day in criticizing the OPEN article really need to read it again, and perhaps work on their own practical literacy skills. He specifically says he is not talking about basic numerancy or arithmetic skills but rather abstract algebraic manipulations that few people require in their daily lives, whether at work or at home.
Sure, society can always use more engineers (although you have to keep in mind that quantitative skills are also necessary for many parts of social sciences as well) it doesn't make sense to force students through courses that they have no aptitude for, to try and teach skills they will never use, and then derail them from pursuing studies and careers that they are rather handy with.
Not everyone needs their grade 12 course of study to be a "Hong Kong Six Pack" (three mathematics and three sciences). It behaves parents to instill discipline and drive their kids to reach their potential when basket weaving is easier than calculus, but the system shouldn't be designed to create failures. You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear so forcing it on everyone will not be productive in most cases.
One thing the author got wrong is with respect to the SAT scores. The actual skills required for the SAT are rather modest. Given time, anyone proficient with grade 7 math can work out the answers. However, time is what you don't have when you write the exam. It doesn't test your mathematical skills per second but rather the ability to perform the calculations quickly and accurately under pressure.
Kate Shaw wrote:I don't have an iPhone, and why bring fractions into it? (Fractions are not algebra either.) Move the decimal point one place to the left and multiply by 2. What's hard about that?
DA_Champion wrote:I remember taking the SAT... it's only been a decade. They use the exact same algebra that the author is decrying in the article, for example, I found this via google images:
It's important to realize that at that age kids don't know what they want to do, so you can't start closing doors. When I was 14 I wanted to become a politician or historian. Kids need time to find out what they're good at.
A large part of the reason that economists, biologists and sociologists don't use math that is as advanced is simply that they are less competent at math. If their abilities improved, they would use more math and the achievements in those disciplines would rise. That's apparently been the trend in biology recently.
BlawBlaw wrote:I was just looking at practice exams and those sorts of questions are maybe one out of 10 questions.
BlawBlaw wrote:You are 14 in grade 9. By the time you have to pick your college entrance courses you have had three years to figure out what you are good at, with science, math and english all being mandatory.
BlawBlaw wrote:I don't know about biology but there are large swaths of economics and other social sciences are are math heavy, particularly in statistical analysis. Some people like Levitt - of Freakonomics fame - can get away with having weak quantitative skills, but if you read most economics papers in full, they get into the mathematical justification for their conclusions. Same same with other areas of social science research that use multiple regression analysis and related techniques to tease out the relationship between various factors (one that comes to mind is looking at the gender wage gap and the factors that influence it).
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