Monday, October 12, 2009

Illogical math

Over lunch, I grew increasingly panicky at the thought of sending my kids to school in Singapore. It's not a new fear but every now and again, I am reminded of how much I'll hate having to subject my kids to it and how I'll be stressed and inadvertently stress them out.

This afternoon's topic of conversation was the recent but yearly and to-be-expected uproar over the PSLE Math paper (do not scroll to the bottom if you want to try the question because the answer is there)
"Jim bought some chocolates and gave half of it to Ken. Ken bought some sweets and gave half of it to Jim. Jim ate 12 sweets and Ken ate 18 chocolates. The ratio of Jim’s sweets to chocolates became 1:7 and the ratio of Ken’s sweets to chocolates became 1:4. How many sweets did Ken buy?"

My brain shut down after Ken bought some sweets. Anyway, 12 year-olds are expected to solve this. How? I don't know.

Not bad enough, I was also duly informed that when what 6+8 is, 14 is incorrect.
6+8 has to first, = 10+4 and then subsequently= 14
11+11 has to first, = 10+1+10+1 = 20+ 2 before arriving at 22.
If the child had the audacity to skip from 6+8 to 14, he would be marked wrong. Which is terrible because it's a) the CORRECT answer and how can they tell a kid that an answer that is right is wrong? b) insisting that the child can ONLY do it ONE way and that's why we're so screwed and complain that the graduates we produce can only think ONE way.

What do they expect when their primary school math insists on teaching them there is only ONE way to derive the answer?

It's annoying, it's worrying and that's why we're screwed as a nation.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 14:17

2 thoughts...

2 thoughts...

At 8:46 pm Blogger Jenny said...

I thought it's all about having more than 1 way to arrive at an answer these days.

So in order to force people to think creatively, they have to be taught that the simple way is wrong...seems awfully contradictory and roundabout to me...

At 10:03 pm Blogger megan said...

You know, coincidentally homeschooling has been on my mind for the past few months because I simply do not trust the education system here.

Yes, we produce excellent results for topics such as Math etc but these are usually the result of pure memory work and very little else. I cannot imagine him having to follow the system and being forced to run the rat race at such a young age and essentially realising that the only way to survive is to be a "yes" man.

I would really love to consider migrating like you but unfortunately, that doesn't seem much of an option at this point of time. =(


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