From: Jerry Becker <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Mon, 25 Feb 2002 14:38:42 -0800
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Are mathematics and arithmetic independent of each other?
Here's something a little different. I want to present some data and
then ask a question. It's a real question, not a conclusion in the
form of a question.
The data come from the TIMSS Benchmarking study. In that study, 38
nations, 13 states, and 14 school districts or consortia of districts
participated. Among these 65 entities, the First in the World
Consortium [FITW] finished 7th in math. Chicago public schools
Yet on the following two problems, Chicago did better than FITW:
4.722 - 1.935 =
7003 - 2925 =
For the first problem, the international average was 77% correct.
Some 83% of Chicago kids and only 73% of FITW kids got it right. For
the second, the international average was 74% with Chicago kids
checking in at 80% and FITW at 74%.
Here's the question: Given FITW's overall stellar performance, do
the above data not indicate that mastery of "the basics" is not
necessary for the acquisition of advanced mathematical skills?
In the college town where I grew up, it was a cliche that
mathematicians couldn't cope with arithmetic.
Are arithmetic and mathematics independent of each other? My guess is yes.
I await your responses ... respond to Dr. Bracey at <[log in to unmask]>