Category Archives: Current Issues

Post about issues in mathematics education

AMATYC Has Much To Offer

by Kathryn Kozak, VP of the SW Region of AMATYC

AMATYC Board
AMATYC Board

The American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges (AMATYC) is the main professional development organization for mathematics teachers at two-year colleges.  Part of its mission is to “offer multiple opportunities for the preparation and continuing professional development of a competent and diverse mathematics faculty skilled in a variety of teaching modalities addressing different learning styles.”  To fulfill this, AMATYC offers an annual conference, webinars, traveling workshops, an online community for members to discuss topics, a mathematics journal (MathAMATYC Educator), and a newsletter (AMATYC News).  In addition, AMATYC has several position statements and guidelines that range from mathematics teaching to preparation of mathematics faculty.

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Topics Affecting Mathematics Education Today

by Kathryn Kozak, VP of the Southwest Region of AMATYC

I was hoping to write an informative article about a topic that is currently important in mathematics education, such as common core standards changes, developmental education redesign, or availability of open source books.  However, I have to admit that I haven’t been able to concentrate on any of these topics.  Currently, I am on sabbatical and sitting at my brother and sister-in-law’s farm in New South Wales, Australia, and watching the Grand Final of Australian League Football.  So I am a bit distracted, and these topics are not on my mind right now.  However, all of these topics and more are immensely important today.

Continue reading Topics Affecting Mathematics Education Today

Is Hacker a Hack?

Many of you are probably familiar with the recent op ed piece in the New York Times, Is Algebra Necessary? In this piece Dr. Andrew Hacker, emeritus professor of political science at Queens College, CUNY, argues that all students do not need to take algebra to be productive members of society.

This article has generated a great deal of controversy (probably what he intended in the first place).

The Diane Rehm Show hosted Dr. Hacker and several other panelists on August 29. You can listen to the show by clicking on the Listen link in the upper left of the page.

Where do you fall in this debate?

Position Statement on Proctored Testing

As many of you know, AMATYC puts out position statements on certain topics. The Innovative Teaching and Learning Committee (ITLC) has developed a position statement on proctoring testing. There will be a forum on this topic at the AMATYC Annual Conference in Jacksonville, FL in November. Then it will go to the Delegate Assembly at that meeting. If you have any input on this, you can send it to the ITLC committee, attend the forum, or email me. You can find the position paper at

https://sites.google.com/site/amatycitlc/home/proctored-testing

Let me know if you have any comments.

Kathryn (Kate) Kozak (Kathryn.Kozak@COCONINO.EDU)
VP of Southwest Region

AZ Republic: The Race to Online

In case your are not a Phoenix resident, the Arizona Republic has been documenting online secondary education since last Sunday. Many of the issues raised in this series are the same issues we face in our online classes. And many of these students will eventually appear in our community college classes. In particular, the third part of the series discusses cheating by online students.

Here are links to the stories.

Creativity and Dishonesty

NPR reported on a study by Dan Ariely (of Predictably Irrational fame) and Francesca Gino that links creativity and dishonesty. Since acafemic dishonesty has been a hot topic in education (particularly online education), I thought I would post a link to the report

as well to the article in the Journal of Personailty and Social Psychology

Take a look and see what you might be able to apply in your own classroom. In light of this information, what is the best strategy for curtailing dishonesty in online classes?

Here is a link to Dan Ariely’s TED talk “Are we in control of our own decisions?”

Cheating Scandals

During the Fall 2011 Articulation Meeting at the ArizMATYC conference at Estrella Mountain Community College, several attendees brought up the subject of proctored testing. The suggestion was made that the members of the ATF should pass a resolution regarding proctored testing in mathematics courses. The discussion was eventually tabled and moved to next Spring’s ATF meeting.

On the way back from the ATF meeting, I learned of another cheating scandal that had taken place in New Jersey.

In this scandal, a college sophomore was able to stand in for several students and take their SAT for $1500 to $2500 a pop. He was even able to impersonate a female student with a gender neutral name. This student was able to doctor up New York State drivers licenses and gain entry to the proctored testing environment provided by Educational Testing Services.

This is not an isolated incident. At the elementary school level, teachers have been cheating for their students.

Those teachers were probably once cheating students! I wonder if they had access to the wealth of information on Youtube about cheating on tests. Here are the top 5 videos (with an ad before the actual video):

  1. How to Cheat on any Test #1
  2. How to Cheat on any Test #2
  3. How to Cheat on any Test #3
  4. How to Cheat on any Test #4
  5. How To Cheat on any Test Exams NEW Technology SPY KIT for Students

Each of these videos makes it seem that cheating is completely ethical and a reasonable thing to do.

AMATYC’s Innovative Teaching and Learning Committee is currently developing a position statement on Proctored Testing. At the AMATYC conference in Austin on Thursday, November 10, there will be an Input Hearing on this position statement. If you are at the conference, you can attend this hearing, moderated by Mary Beth Orrange, from 7:30 to 8:00 PM.

Perhaps the issue should not be with proctored testing, but with the ethical level of our students. Just food for thought!