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## Replies to: Math Placement Test Without a Calculator?

5,851Senior MemberIt is in my math class. Even in classes for which I expect students to use calculators heavily, I expect them not to use calculators for basic computation. It's pointless to make students multiply two four-digit numbers by hand if they can already do it, or divide 3.51*10^5 by 4.3*10^(-9) manually if they can already do it, but if they can't already do it, they haven't achieved a basic level of math proficiency that we expect of high school graduates. And I certainly expect that my students will not reach for a calculator to multiply 17 by 5, or approximate pi/2, let alone the square root of 95.

Calculators are fabulous labor-saving tools. But a student who can't do arithmetic or basic algebra without one really does need remedial math. If her high school graduated her without these skills, it did her a disservice. But I don't think that means her college should just pass her along that way.

In your situation, I'd be annoyed and disappointed and frustrated, too. But I don't think the college is really the right entity for you to be ticked off at.

22,612Super ModeratorNo one would ever mistake me for a math wiz and I used the same concept as BC. I knew that 9*9 =81 and 10*10 =100 since 100-95 =5, I would have also chosen the largest number over 9 and under 10.

My daughter also went to a school that did Marily Burns Math for smarty pants and knew how to do all sorts of abstract word problems but struggled doing basic arithmetic in her head. Yes, I whipped out my index cards and that is how she learned multiplication.

I agree with Garland about the over reliance on calculators. Kids with high tech calculators simply program formulas in their calculators and then plug and chug without really knowing how to do the work pen to the paper.

22,762Senior Member> think the college is really the right entity for you to be ticked off at.

Schools have 12 years to teach at least arithmetic and algebra. That is a very, very long time. If the schools aren't doing their jobs, then parents have to step in to fill the void. The problem is that parents often don't know that there is a problem.

I recall the survey results in grad school on how to improve courses. The biggest complaint was on students that didn't have the prerequisites for the course eating up valuable course time. How can a college professor teach the required material if a lot of course time is spent doing prerequisites?

In this case, the placement tests are fair to everyone. The professor can teach the course. Students in the course aren't held back by students that won't succeed in the course. Students that have to take remedial courses will be prepared for the course after they can demonstrate that they can meet the prerequisites.

3,303Senior MemberAt some level, the test should be designed to evaluate knowledge of the math concepts, not entirely the ability to perform arithmetic and estimation.

For example, I think it would be far more effective use of time to have several questions along the line of "What is ln(e^6.37)", rather than questions like "Estimate the number closest to e^6.37". In the case of the latter question, depending on the answer choices given, you would merely have to narrow it down and guess.

189Junior Member5,032Senior Member18,345Senior Member5,851Senior MemberWell, if that happens, being ticked off at the college will be a totally appropriate response.

4,790Senior Member24,980Senior Member40,488Senior MemberWell, how else should she go about getting those basics?

Just because she's an early childhood education major doesn't mean that she shouldn't have a basic level of math competency.

For your square root of 95 example, she should be able to at least know that the answer lies between 9 and 10.

I do concur that the statistics class would probably be the most interesting and most importantly the most useful for someone who is not going down a sciency-mathy type of path.

355MemberIt is very important for someone who is going to be a teacher of young children to easily understand how to perform these simple types of calculations. IMHO it is unacceptable to graduate students from elementary teaching programs unless they have a strong understanding of math through Algebra. I applaud the college that the D of the OP attends for insisting upon this!

I'm sorry that your D has to take an extra course, but I'm even more sorry that she arrived at college with this deficiency in math.

5,949Senior MemberI had to use a trigonometric table, a thick book to interpolate values for sine, cosine, tan,...

5,851Senior MemberI've never asked my students to do that. I've also never asked them to crank-start a Model T.

1,331Senior Member