Teacher Indoctrination by Test

October 18, 2005

Barry Garelick points out a test question that I believe constitutes the teacher credentialing equivalent of push-polling (link via Joanne Jacobs):

"Many people believe children will never learn mathematics if allowed
to use pocket calculators. Having spent countless hours memorizing
multiplication tables and doing long-division problems unaided by any
mechanical device, many adults cannot conceive of anyone acquiring this
knowledge without similar effort and practice. _______________________________________________
. What many people fail to understand is that mathematics is constantly
evolving; it is not a fixed body of facts. Students must still learn
basic skills, but they do not need to perform the endlessly repetitive
exercises that calculators largely eliminate. Youngsters can better use
their time—time they would have spent performing long-division
problems—to learn mathematical concepts that will enable them to become
better problem solvers.

Click the link to see what the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing thought should go in the blank and to read Garelick’s open letter arguing against including such a question. Joanne Jacobs has thoughts as well (and she highlights one of the funnier comments from Garelick’s post).

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