What community college developmental math students understand…

Posted on July 24, 2014

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I was re-reading What Community College Developmental Math Students Understand… (having shared it in the comments about the NY TImes article about why Americans Stink at Math).   I had often shared their list of the “Most difficult” items — questions fewer than 25% of developmental math students got right.   

    The article goes on to describe the errors, and the patterns of Doing What Looks Like WHat THey’re Used To.   If asked to find the least common multiple of 6 and 9, they’d say “3.”   Asked what percent 21 is of 14, they’d flip the numbers.   

   I’d missed this paragraph: ” Students’ tendencies to make the errors outlined above were quite consistent: when they could make these errors, they did. We looked at the ten items on each of the two tests that were answered correctly by the most students. None of these items provided opportunities for making the kinds of errors identified above.”

   Wow.   

    That’s okay; clearly they need MORE DRILL ON THE PROCEDURES!!!!   Or not…

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