I want to share 3 quotes from his article, and then encourage you to follow the link to read the whole thing.
He satrts here:
We are in the midst of paradox in math education. As more states strive to improve math curricula and raise standardized test scores, more students show up to college unprepared for college-level math.
After some examples from his kids' homework, he has these questions:
So if eighth graders are taught math at the level of a college sophomore why are graduating seniors struggling? How can students who have studied college level math for years need remedial math when they finally arrive at college? From my knowledge of both curricula I see three problems.I'll let him tell you the 3 problems, so I don't steal all his thunder. His conclusion seems just right to me: (President Obama, Secretary of Education Duncan, Are you listening?)
All three of these problems are the result of the adult obsession with testing and the need to show year-to-year improvement in test scores. Age-appropriate development and understanding of mathematical concepts does not advance at a rate fast enough to please test-obsessed lawmakers. But adults using test scores to reward or punish other adults are doing a disservice to the children they claim to be helping.Please read his article in all its glory, over at APS.
It does not matter the exact age that you learned to walk. What matters is that you learned to walk at a developmentally appropriate time. To do my job as a physicist I need to know matrix inversion. It didn’t hurt my career that I learned that technique in college rather than in eighth grade. What mattered was that I understood enough about math when I got to college that I could take calculus. Memorizing a long list of advanced techniques to appease test scorers does not constitute an understanding.