“Why is Pythagoras Following Me?” Phi Delta Kappan, February 1989, pp. 446-459. (Reproduced with the permission of Phi Delta Kappan magazine.)
Mathematics requirements in U. S. high schools should not be increased, Mr. Smith avers. In fact, they should be decreased. For reasons why, read on.
“Repugnant Is to Aversion … A Look at ETS and the New SAT I,” Phi Delta Kappan, June 1994, pp. 752-757. (Reproduced with the permission of Phi Delta Kappan magazine.)
It is too soon to say whether or not the new SAT is blazing a trail toward the future of assessment, Mr. Smith declares. But at the very least, taking the SAT will remain one experience about which both parents and children can commiserate.
“The Word Problem,” from Humble Pi: The Role Mathematics Should Play in American Education. Amherst, New York: Prometheus Books, 1994. (Chapter 3, pp. 77-96)
Two trains leave at the same time but from different cities. One train is traveling west at 120 mph while the other is traveling east at 100 mph. Assuming the trains are traveling on opposite but parallel tracks, and the two cities from which they leave are 440 miles apart, how long will it take before they meet?
It seems that every time I mention the train problem, nervous laughter ensues. Practically everyone remembers the difficulties of doing word problems in high school math courses. Why are these problems so difficult and why do they evoke such bad memories? Do people have latent phobias about trains, perhaps caused by a primal archetype that even Jung overlooked? Read more…
Reflections on Taking the New SAT
I took the new SAT at Bearden High School on Saturday, March 12, 2005. As someone who’s helped students prepare for this test for over twenty years, I felt that I needed to experience the changes to the test first-hand. I also felt that I could empathize more with the pressures my students endure if I struggled through the four-hour test myself.