# Re: Baloney review and contest.

"Bart Goddard" <goddardbe@xxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote in message
news:Xns99D09ED90FB64goddardbenetscapenet@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
"CigarSki" <CigarSki@xxxxxxxxx> wrote in
news:aEHSi.16805\$DX.7303@trnddc06:

Would not the low grades of his students, be a reflection on his
abilities as a teacher.

Usually bad teachers give lots of A's. In the case of university
math, we fail (D or F or drop) about 1/3 of undergraduates. The
main reason is that so many students aren't prepared. This semester
I have two sections of 120 students in "Applicable Math". The
prerequisites include high school algebra 2. Yet, when I'm doing
an example in class, and have to add, say, 1 + 1/3, and write
"4/3", _invariably_ a hand goes up "Where'd you get 4/3?". I
added the fractions. "I don't git it." <sigh> 1 is 3/3 and
I add that to 1/3 getting 4/3. "Well, don't skip steps!".
Well, don't sign up for classes for which you are not prepared.

Adding fractions is 5th grade math. I'm trying to get them to
use logarithms to compute doubling times of compound interest,
or graph parabolas, and I keep running into 10 or 15 percent of
my students who _can't add 1 + 1/3_. These are the people,
as Alex says, who are clogging up the system. They have no
chance of getting a degree, but they soak up a huge fraction
of the available financial aid.

The same thing happens in calculus. In Calc 3, we try to do
double and triple integrals, and somehow, there's all these
students that can't do the single integrals from Calc 1,
and worse, it's not even that "Oh yeah, I kind of remember
doing that", it's rather "We never did anything like that."
(These are typically kids who had "calc" in high school.

I _have_ to fail students who can't learn to tell when a series
converges. If I don't, they go on to build bridges that
your children and grandchildren are going to drive over,
or the x-ray machine your dentist uses on you. It's not my
job it figure out _why_ they're failing (unprepared vs.
untalented vs. mental disability) but only to fail them
if they don't demonstrate academic growth.

Finally, I'm a professor, not a teacher. It's a seller's
market at university. It's a much better position than
high school teacher, where somehow society expects one to
be responsible for the learning of a kid who resists learning
with all his might.

I have a great plan for fixing this, but since, unfortunately,
I'm not El Rey del Mundo, it ain't gonna happen.

B.

--
Cheerfully resisting change since 1959.

Much better put than I would have. Teachers teach, professors present
material. High school and below students are learning to learn. Adult
students should know how to learn and only need the material presented, it
is then their own responsibility to learn it. And they should know how by
that time.

I can see parallels in debates on this forum. Some folks refuse to see
anything except what they present.

I would listen to your plan, but not sure what it has to do with being a
cigar.

--

Smokin' Travis

I came for the knowledge,
I stayed for the people.

ASC since Summer, 2003

.