### Maybe Chuck's Journo Was A Washington HS Grad?

Sunday, December 03, 2006
As more than a third of the class of 2008 gets closer to not graduating from high school for flunking the math section of the Washington Assessment of Student Learning, politicians must decide whether to delay the requirement or face angry mobs of parents.
The political decision to deal with the results by dropping the requirement is completely understandable considering Gregoire's attachment to the teachers unions but does nothing to resolve the question of the basic competence of current and past HS graduates. Based upon a comparison with the scores achieved in Texas, Boeing's HR department should be advertising down there rather than in Washington. The money spent in remedial education for a Washington "graduate" would probably more than cover moving expenses.

Here is a sample test for Washington and here is the actual 2005 Texas test, (math begins on page 38), that 88% of Texas 11th graders passed. Of course, Texas is a right to work state so the teacher's unions haven't been able to damage education in Texas the way they have in Washington.

I wonder if Gregoire will use "Vote Dem and Stay Dumb" as her campaign slogan in '08?

chuck said...

Argghhh,

From the first practice problem for the Washington State exam.

Thomas received m dollars for his allowance. He spent
1/3 of his allowance on a CD
and 1/2 of his allowance on movies and snacks. Which expression represents the number of dollars he had left?

Emphasis mine. Why the complex idea of "expression", as opposed to the simple question, how much is left? Trouble with fractions, perhaps? This obsessive concentration on the steps, rather than the end, drives me nuts. It also confuses students; they get all caught up in method, mentally leafing through all the rules they have memorized, and end up wandering randomly about because they haven't a clue where they want to end up.

And why the formulae for the area and circumference of a circle and the volumes of simple solids at the beginning of a HS exam? Shouldn't these be memorized? I can maybe, maybe I say, see the conversion from miles to feet, but the area of circles and the volumes of simple solids should be part of the mental baggage the students carry with them when they graduate.