Can rounding have an impact on the real world? In the case of the Olympics it certainly can. In the Women’s Downhill event this week, two women were awarded the Gold medal in a tie. However, they did not record the same time. This was because of rounding. Continue reading And The Gold Goes To…Rounding!
by Kathryn Kozak, VP of the SW Region of AMATYC
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.
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.
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).
- Andrew Hacker, CUNY Professor, Questions Whether Algebra Is Necessary In Schools, Huffington Post
- Why Algebra is Necessary: Rebutting Andrew Hacker, Hemant Mehta
- Why Algebra Matters (and Why Andrew Hacker is Off-Target), Dropout Nation
- Andrew Hacker on the Supposed Superfluousness of Algebra, Samir Chopra
- Times Op-Ed Scribe Andrew Hacker Remains Staunch Opponent to Mandatory Math, Finds Reaction By ‘Math People’ To Be Typical, New York Observer
- In Defense of Algebra and Other Difficult Subjects, Judy Bolton-Fasman
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?
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
Let me know if you have any comments.
Kathryn (Kate) Kozak (Kathryn.Kozak@COCONINO.EDU)
VP of Southwest Region
On October 19, I mentioned several cheating scandals that were taking place across the country. The most prevalent was the SAT cheating scandal in which a college students took the SAT exam for several students. Last night, 60 Minutes interviewed this student. Here is the video from the interview.
You can find the text to the interview as well as an online discussion at the 60 Minutes website here.
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.
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
- For Creative People, Cheating Comes More Easily (NPR 12/5/11)
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?”
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.
- Freakonomics Radio: Those Cheating Teachers
- ProPublica: America’s Most Outrageous Teacher Cheating Scandals
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):
- How to Cheat on any Test #1
- How to Cheat on any Test #2
- How to Cheat on any Test #3
- How to Cheat on any Test #4
- 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.
- DRAFT Position Statement on Proctored Testing
Perhaps the issue should not be with proctored testing, but with the ethical level of our students. Just food for thought!
In 2008, Arizona revised its laws regarding course materials. In particular, a part of Arizona Revised Statatutes § 15–1891 addresses the issues regarding the selling of textbook copies sent for review to instructors. Section E of this statute says
E. A book buyer or vendor of course materials shall not solicit a faculty member or employee of a university under the jurisdiction of the Arizona board of regents or a community college under the jurisdiction of a community college district in this state for the purpose of selling or trading a free sample copy or complimentary teacher editions provided at no charge by a publisher to a faculty member or employee.
In addition to this section of 15-1891, many colleges and universities have adopted policies that restrict the sales of complimentary copies.
So why do the book buyers continue to show up at my door several times a year?