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(CBS News)   SAT scores continue to slip. Well good, it's not like they're finding jobs after college anyway   (cbsnews.com) divider line 123
    More: Sad, SAT Scores, high schools, MoneyWatch, College Board  
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2356 clicks; posted to Main » on 26 Sep 2013 at 11:37 AM (51 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-09-26 02:17:20 PM
"Kids are like any other group of people... a few winners and a whole lot of losers"

- George Carlin
 
2013-09-26 02:37:03 PM

lamecomedian: Headline: "High School Student's SAT Scores Continue to Slip"

FTA:

"High school seniors who graduated earlier this year generated the exact same scores as last year's crop of test takers."

"Continue" and "slip" - what do they MEAN?


Their own SAT scores slipped, they scored a 200 on the writing part.
 
2013-09-26 02:44:46 PM

ERNesbitt: Pick: I asked my nephew who was 17 at the time and considered gifted by his parents, a simple mathematical question; How many gallons of water fall on an acre, if one inch of rain falls upon it? He did not know how to even start to calculate the answer.

In high school level physics, they gloss over just enough unit cancellation to get the snowflakes to pass the test. The first time I saw this question was in college (12-ish years ago)... We got it the other way around, even the students who understood the concept struggled to figure out breaking a volume into and area and distance.


This is not entirely fair.  There is probably one student in the entire high school who knows how many cubic inches are in a gallon.

You would probably see a different result if you asked him a similar question using metric units.
 
2013-09-26 02:46:17 PM

PrivateCaboose: enik: PrivateCaboose: enik: doyner: Get comfy for the long haul, folks. The Tea Party ain't going anywhere.

Why yes, when I think teachers unions and public schools, I think Tea Party. Good observation.

I think he means: kids aren't getting any smarter, so we're in for more dumb leadership even with the next generation.

I would think that one would perhaps look at the mechanism responsible for helping make kids smarter. I'm not a Tea Party person, but I think we need to blame shiatty family structure and lousy schools before we blame a minor political party.

Sigh you are still missing it.

Dumb kids become dumb adults.
Dumb adults join Tea Party.
Tea Party stays alive for the long haul.

Have we painted a simple enough picture?


Some men you just can't reach.
 
2013-09-26 02:52:28 PM

Dr. Kefarkian: Pick: I asked my nephew who was 17 at the time and considered gifted by his parents, a simple mathematical question; How many gallons of water fall on an acre, if one inch of rain falls upon it? He did not know how to even start to calculate the answer.

I'll take, "Who the fark cares?" for 600, Alex


Civil engineers/Architects/Construction Managers who need to calculate drainage for a specific lot size...
 
2013-09-26 02:56:30 PM

Muta: Remember when the US had a Top 5 in the world educational system?  Remember in the '80's when people started saying our educational system could be improved by privatization through charter schools, voucher programs and competition?  When are the people who pushed for privatization of our school step forward and admit they failed?


Cite some data, like SAT scores, to back up your contention that charter and voucher schools are inferior to public schools, or it's valid to assume you're talking out of your ass.
 
2013-09-26 03:01:35 PM

PrivateCaboose: enik: PrivateCaboose: enik: doyner: Get comfy for the long haul, folks. The Tea Party ain't going anywhere.

Why yes, when I think teachers unions and public schools, I think Tea Party. Good observation.

I think he means: kids aren't getting any smarter, so we're in for more dumb leadership even with the next generation.

I would think that one would perhaps look at the mechanism responsible for helping make kids smarter. I'm not a Tea Party person, but I think we need to blame shiatty family structure and lousy schools before we blame a minor political party.

Sigh you are still missing it.

Dumb kids become dumb adults.
Dumb adults join Tea Party.
Tea Party stays alive for the long haul.

Have we painted a simple enough picture?


I'm a member of 'a' (there's no 'the') Tea Party and I'm pretty damned smart, and the Tea Partiers I've met appear to be more intelligent than the population as a whole. The dumb ones tend to remain checked out and sit on their asses, not join political groups and raise hell about things.
 
2013-09-26 03:07:00 PM

jjorsett: I'm a member of 'a' (there's no 'the') Tea Party and I'm pretty damned smart, and the Tea Partiers I've met appear to be more intelligent than the population as a whole. The dumb ones tend to remain checked out and sit on their asses, not join political groups and raise hell about things.


I know a handful of tea party members. I can vouch for the fact that some of them are indeed pretty smart, just so very wrong.

The tea party is probably not different from most samples of society, a handful of winners and a whole lot of losers.
 
2013-09-26 03:15:50 PM

Nutsac_Jim: ERNesbitt: Pick: I asked my nephew who was 17 at the time and considered gifted by his parents, a simple mathematical question; How many gallons of water fall on an acre, if one inch of rain falls upon it? He did not know how to even start to calculate the answer.

In high school level physics, they gloss over just enough unit cancellation to get the snowflakes to pass the test. The first time I saw this question was in college (12-ish years ago)... We got it the other way around, even the students who understood the concept struggled to figure out breaking a volume into and area and distance.

This is not entirely fair.  There is probably one student in the entire high school who knows how many cubic inches are in a gallon.

You would probably see a different result if you asked him a similar question using metric units.


7.46 gal/ft^3 if memory serves me. The point of the exercise wasn't to know exact conversions, it was to see if we could use conversions we knew (and had been studying up until that point) to extrapolate new information. The only "complicated" part is realizing you can cancel square-feet out of cubic feet to get a one-dimensional distance measurement (a useful skill when a portion of your job is estimating holding tank size, drainage, or concrete volume for construction).
 
2013-09-26 04:32:39 PM

GodComplex:  Course it could be that more kids are taking the SATs which could skew the results.


This, maybe?  Kids who weren't college material 20 years ago wouldn't have taken the test then.  But similar kids today are considered college material---because everyone is college material nowadays!---so they're taking the SAT now.  Result?  Average scores drop.
 
2013-09-26 04:56:11 PM

HoratioGates: "High school students' SAT scores continue to slip"
 
"High school seniors who graduated earlier this year generated the exact same scores as last year's crop of test takers."

"Headline writers at CBS Money Watch fail reading comprehension."

Actually, an important thing to look at is how many students take the tests.  Some states make pretty much anyone who can hold a pencil (or use a writing implement with an assistive device) take the test.  Some states let the dumb kids sit it out.  There has been a push, in general, to get more kids taking the test, which will tend to keep the scores flat even if education improves as a whole.  (In Maine, 90% of the students take the test, in Iowa it's 3%.  Some states, as policy, discourage anyone who might tank their scores from taking them.  It gives the schools the ability to boast about their SAT scores without actually educating their kids.  

http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d10/tables/dt10_154.asp


Some of those students in Iowa take the ACT instead of the SAT.
 
2013-09-26 05:12:47 PM

TheBigJerk: We should give props to  pick for his magnificently stupid post successfully derailing this thread.


He's gifted.
 
2013-09-26 05:54:09 PM

ikanreed: Pick: I asked my nephew who was 17 at the time and considered gifted by his parents, a simple mathematical question; How many gallons of water fall on an acre, if one inch of rain falls upon it? He did not know how to even start to calculate the answer.

To be fair, imperial units suck balls.


Yep. If the question was how many cubic meters of water fall on a square kilometer area if one cm rain falls upon it, then it would be an easy question of decimal point placement. That would be 0.01 m rain on a 1,000,000 m2 area, that makes it 10,000 m3.

Honestly, if I was the kid, I would start by converting everything to metric.
 
2013-09-26 06:13:24 PM
"You don't say .."

ubeforeitsnews.com
 
2013-09-26 06:35:51 PM
farm machine:
Step 1.  Determine area of an acre of land (acre = 204' x 204')
Step 2.  Determine volume of water if entire acre is covered in 1" of water

While one might plug in the wrong numbers, transpose them, etc. you have shown that you understand what is required to arrive at the answer.  Even though your final answer may not be the correct one.  Getting the right answer is important but its also good to prove that you understand the concepts and have problem solving capabilities.


Close. 208.75 squared, number of square feet. Divide by 12, number of cubic feet of water. Density of water is 1 gram per cubic centimeter. Multiply your cubic feet by 900 (roughly the number of cubic centimeters in a cubic foot), divide by 30- number of grams in an ounce.

So, roughly, back of the envelope, using round numbers:

210 squared is 44100 square feet.
44100 square feet each an inch deep divided by 12 is 3675 cubic feet.
Taking our next two steps together (multiply by 900, divide by 30), divided by 30 is 110250 ounces of water
110250 ounces is 861.328 gallons, so 861 gallons, plus about a quart and a pint.

At least that's what I got. Dimensional analysis doesn't work, anyone see my error.
 
2013-09-26 07:05:35 PM
I'm a physics major which means I'm happy to answer a question about horsepower in units of Newton-inches per microsecond because it's still correct dimensionally. I'd have answered in acre-feet units. If I was feeling generous I would divide by A* where *the number of gallons in an acre-foot.

That being said dimensional analysis and error analysis are incredibly valuable tools. You can greatly increase confidence in an expression if its units process as expected and rule it out entirely if they don't. It still staggers me how error analysis especially in non-linear systems baffles so many people.

===

Back on topic the SATs were a pain in the written section because they contained questions like "What is the best title for the previous short story?" A) Billy and Jen Go to the Store B) The Cheating Incident or C) A Lesson Learned. Complete farked up questions without a clear answer.
 
2013-09-26 07:55:30 PM

Sword and Shield: farm machine:
Step 1.  Determine area of an acre of land (acre = 204' x 204')
Step 2.  Determine volume of water if entire acre is covered in 1" of water

While one might plug in the wrong numbers, transpose them, etc. you have shown that you understand what is required to arrive at the answer.  Even though your final answer may not be the correct one.  Getting the right answer is important but its also good to prove that you understand the concepts and have problem solving capabilities.

Close. 208.75 squared, number of square feet. Divide by 12, number of cubic feet of water. Density of water is 1 gram per cubic centimeter. Multiply your cubic feet by 900 (roughly the number of cubic centimeters in a cubic foot), divide by 30- number of grams in an ounce.

So, roughly, back of the envelope, using round numbers:

210 squared is 44100 square feet.
44100 square feet each an inch deep divided by 12 is 3675 cubic feet.
Taking our next two steps together (multiply by 900, divide by 30), divided by 30 is 110250 ounces of water
110250 ounces is 861.328 gallons, so 861 gallons, plus about a quart and a pint.

At least that's what I got. Dimensional analysis doesn't work, anyone see my error.


I came back to the thread to see if I got any response to my previous post a bit above. Then I read your post and I laughed so hard, I don't even know how to start describing it.

So... Do I get it right, US math is about converting imperial units back and forth?

/obviously, I'm from Europe
 
2013-09-26 08:31:02 PM
This is what "conservatives" wanted. Fewer kids going to college means a cheaper labor pool which lacks those pesky critical thinking skills that employers and politicians don't want to see in the riffraff anyway.
 
2013-09-26 09:01:41 PM

Pick: I asked my nephew who was 17 at the time and considered gifted by his parents, a simple mathematical question; How many gallons of water fall on an acre, if one inch of rain falls upon it? He did not know how to even start to calculate the answer.


Do you mean imperial gallon, US customary liquid gallon, or US dry gallon?

/anyway, to get the easiest answer is to Google "1 acre * 1 inch to gallon", which returns "27 154.2857 US gallons"
//it's strange that Google knows the difference between imperial and US gallons, but doesn't know US dry gallon
 
2013-09-26 10:23:45 PM
This is expected. They previously basically imported the SAT II Writing for the Writing section, but test prep companies very quickly pumped out lots of information to help people beat the essay, and the Writing scores were higher than they wanted. In addition, they changed the essay grading process to make it less fair to students. SAT essay graders are now only allowed a certain number of perfect "6" scores, and they're now required to grade so quickly that they can't actually read more than the introduction. So, they scan your essay to look for big words - one test taker wrote a "lorem ipsum" essay with good vocabulary and a thesis but absolutely no content whatsoever and submitted it for a perfect score - and then, if you pass that, they'll decide based on their quota whether to give you a 4, 5, or 6. To beat the test prep companies, they make about one essay prompt in three virtually impossible to answer in an intelligent fashion, which defeats the usual preparation (get to know a few different important people's biographies in detail, apply their experiences to the prompt) but also leaves students flummoxed and less likely to be able to score well on the essay. After they started doing that, Writing scores dropped.

You can also add in a greater number of students with English as a Second Language taking the test, often against their will. Many school districts require their students to take the SATs regardless of educational attainment, and we also have more immigrant students who made it out in the second post-Soviet emigration taking it. The test is still astonishingly culturally biased, and also relies heavily on subtle linguistic connotations only available to students who are raised in an environment where people speak high-class English (yes, African-American Vernacular English is a bad thing to speak around your kids as long as the SAT continues to be the standard for college admissions; don't do it).

TL;DR: They severely screwed with the Writing section, and more people who don't have the background for the SAT are taking it.
 
2013-09-27 01:36:54 AM

HoratioGates: "High school students' SAT scores continue to slip"
 
"High school seniors who graduated earlier this year generated the exact same scores as last year's crop of test takers."

"Headline writers at CBS Money Watch fail reading comprehension."

Actually, an important thing to look at is how many students take the tests.  Some states make pretty much anyone who can hold a pencil (or use a writing implement with an assistive device) take the test.  Some states let the dumb kids sit it out.  There has been a push, in general, to get more kids taking the test, which will tend to keep the scores flat even if education improves as a whole.  (In Maine, 90% of the students take the test, in Iowa it's 3%.  Some states, as policy, discourage anyone who might tank their scores from taking them.  It gives the schools the ability to boast about their SAT scores without actually educating their kids.  

http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d10/tables/dt10_154.asp


Many midwestern states prefer the ACT over the SAT, which could explain the Iowa thing.
 
2013-09-27 11:21:22 AM
I teach algebra 2 and math for college readiness, a class for seniors who passed the Post secondary Education Readiness Test but opted out of college level classes or never passed the PERT. The ratio is about 20:1 in favor of those not passing it.
The PERT cannot be taken with a calculator so I don't allow them in class. Almost every student whines incessantly about any kind of basic computations (+, -, x, /, ^2) done by hand. Any long division is met with stubborn resistance, calculations with decimals are hopeless with most of them. All of this comes after spending the first few weeks going over the basics, with seniors, of elementary math.  Their inability to understand fractions makes me fearful for the world of tomorrow.
If this doesn't make any sense I'm going to blame how gorram hard it is to type on an iPad after the update. I had to close keyboard and re-open it several times to get this post finished and lost my train of thought in the frustration.
 
2013-09-27 12:38:18 PM

betelgeux: I teach algebra 2 and math for college readiness, a class for seniors who passed the Post secondary Education Readiness Test but opted out of college level classes or never passed the PERT. The ratio is about 20:1 in favor of those not passing it.
The PERT cannot be taken with a calculator so I don't allow them in class. Almost every student whines incessantly about any kind of basic computations (+, -, x, /, ^2) done by hand. Any long division is met with stubborn resistance, calculations with decimals are hopeless with most of them. All of this comes after spending the first few weeks going over the basics, with seniors, of elementary math.   Their inability to understand fractions makes me fearful for the world of tomorrow.
If this doesn't make any sense I'm going to blame how gorram hard it is to type on an iPad after the update. I had to close keyboard and re-open it several times to get this post finished and lost my train of thought in the frustration.



These aren't the kids who will be running the world of tomorrow. These are the kids who have been through more than a decade of the American school system and still couldn't do long division.

You're dealing with a biased sample, and as American student math skills continue to show improvement, it's just going to get more and more biased in the years to come.

Keep at it, though. I disagree with the South-East Asian system of simply leaving parts of the population completely uneducated.* If we keep working at it, we might even be able to make things like the recent KKK rallies even more pathetic than they currently are.

/*Before you say "they have higher illiteracy rates because they don't have as much money for education", take a look at the male/female differences.
 
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