Thursday, January 29, 2009
Math B: Thank God it's Ending!
Today, I sat down with the rest of the math teachers in our department to grade the January 2009 Math B regents. I found myself thinking "Thank god the Math A and Math B sequence is coming to a close this year" For those of you who are ignorant (blissfully so) of what has been largely seen as a failure: the math A and Math B sequences divide up the traditional Algebra I, Geometry and Algebra II sequence a little differently. Rather than devoting one year to each of the aforementioned subjects, Math A covers algebra I and some geometry. Math B covers the rest of geometry and Algebra II. With few exceptions, schools teach these courses over a year and half. Anyone who has ever prepared a student for an end of the year standardized test like the New York Regents might immediately see the issue. There is a long amount of time and a large amount of material covered by the test. At the end of June when studetns sit for the test, they must remember things from about a year and a half ago! The Math B is particularly tough for most students becuase it covers a lot of 'real math' and the curve is much less forgiving than the Math A. You also invaraibly get some curve ball questions like the logarithmic regression question, question 33. The thing that was most annoying about this question is that you had to take a natural log regression--and natural logs are not even in the Math B curriculum
Having taught the course for years, I wondered to myself "Did I just not know that natural logs were on the curriculum." In the end, no teacher in our department could find anything about natural logs in the state's published curriculum! All you can wonder is ' what were they thinking when they wrote that question ?'