Utterly Meaningless » Blog Archive » NEW MATH

    Filed at 10:24 am under by dcobranchi

    In Texas, evidently, 36=27. On this year’s 10th grade math test, the students were asked to calculate the perimeter of an octagon. The “correct” answer was 36. But, if the kids used trigonometry, they “could” get 27. Huh? 27 was one of the choices, so the TX DOE threw out the entire question. Texas doesn’t release old tests so I can’t find out what the “real” answer is. Maybe Kim Swygert will take a swipe at this one?

    Amazingly, throwing out this one question raises the percentage of kids who passed from 71 to 73%.

    UPDATE: Bas Braams of Scientifically Correct has all of the info on the questionable, er, question. And, my bad- the question is reproduced in the article that I linked above.

    5 Responses to “NEW MATH”

    Comment by
    Tony Rosen
    August 7th, 2003
    at 12:01 pm

    My question is, how can you possibly come up with different answers to the SAME question?

    Comment by
    Bas Braams
    August 7th, 2003
    at 5:45 pm

    I discussed that TAKS 10th grade math question today at scientificallycorrect.com. It is a real howler. In brief, the question contains a drawing of a regular octagon, and the radii of the inscribed and circumscribed circles are both given – but they are not compatible.

    Comment by
    August 7th, 2003
    at 6:43 pm

    I’m grateful for the explanation. I did it the old Pythagorean way and got 36, but now I understand how 27 could be feasible. In other words, they did not actually draw a regular octagon and measure the dang thing. There is only one correct perimeter measurement; it’s the sum of the lengths of the sides. If we’re all in the same Euclidean universe here.

    Comment by
    August 7th, 2003
    at 8:01 pm

    Hey, Daryl mentioned me by name, but DIDN’T provide a link. Does that mean he assumes everyone knows who I am, and how to find me (like Instapundit)? Man, that would be cool. 🙂

    ‘Fraid I have no sources for the TAKS – the only psychometricians I know in Texas are at the U of T.

    Bas is correct, though, in stating that this reflects badly on the “professional educators” who were in charge of reviewing these questions….

    Comment by
    Daryl Cobranchi
    August 7th, 2003
    at 8:16 pm

    You’re in the blogroll. Sorry I should have linked you but I refer to you often enough on the site that my few readers SHOULD know you. In fact, I think from now on you’ll just be “Kim.” No last name needed- like Madonna.