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Aspiring Massachusetts Teachers Fail In Math 15

Unfortunately for the 73% of prospective new teachers who failed to pass the math section of the state elementary school teacher's licensing exam, Massachusetts does not grade on a curve. More than 600 applicants took the exam that tests knowledge of elementary school mathematics including geometry, statistics, and probability. Tom Scott, executive director of the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents, says "The high failure rate puts a shining light on a deficiency in teacher-prep programs."


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Aspiring Massachusetts Teachers Fail In Math

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  • by queenb**ch ( 446380 ) on Tuesday May 19, 2009 @03:57PM (#28016461) Homepage Journal

    OMFG!!! They were *supposed* to have learned this stuff in ELEMENTARY SCHOOL...... How is that a failing of the teacher prep? It sounds like a failing of the public education system.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by v1 ( 525388 )

      I've ran into people that made it halfway through high school without being able to read. It happens.

      • by Higaran ( 835598 )
        I'm sorry, but where the hell are you from that you've meet people in high school like this. This does show that the way were taught is wrong, the kids forget everything as soon as the test is over.
        • It's not as much the way we teach kids as it is some kids need different methods of teaching. It's almost like your favorite color, you could find blue to be really pleasing and I can find it depressing. It isn't because something is wrong with any of us, it's because we are unique and different individuals.

          As for forgetting something after the test, well you need to either use it or lose it. I know working professionals who have forgottent half the stuff they could ramble on about at will just a few years

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mariox19 ( 632969 )

      This is a sore point for me. For a time, I was trying to get a job as a social studies teacher in New York. Most interviews went this way.

      At some point during an on-site interview, in addition to filling out a job application and interviewing with one or more people, I would be asked to write a short essay, on the spot, in longhand. It was usually something like, "Tell about a time when a student really affected you," or some other touchy-feely thing.

      I soon realized, since people include all sorts of fluff

    • Since when are statistics and probability taught in elementary schools?

      Did Massachusetts become a Vulcan colony recently?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        Around the same time they stopped speaking english. Check out the

        Practice Test in PDF form [nesinc.com]

        It was like a random-word generator spat out the questions in the most convoluted way possible, asking the oddest, nonsensical questions they can. For example:

        Given that 100 milliliters is equal to approximately 0.4 cup, 205 milliliters is equal to approximately how many cups?

        Which of the following expressions models the solution to the problem above?
        A. (100 - 0.4)(205)
        B. 105% of 0.4
        C. (205 - 100)(0.4)
        D. 205% of 0.4

        The person who wrote this exam probably did so from a mental hospital.

        • The answer is D, obviously. I thought trick questions was an area that teachers had to excel in.
          • Yeah. If the teacher can't think and decode an easy question like that, I doubt their ability to do anything. Come on, that is basic adding and fractions.
        • D is obviously the only correct answer. Yes, it is more properly 205 milliliters * (0.4 cups/100 milliliters), and some engineering professors would take points off for not having the units.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by WNReynolds ( 772399 )
      Ummm.... before we get to high and mighty, perhaps we would like to take crack at this test ourselves: http://www.mtel.nesinc.com/PDFs/MA_FLD009_PRACTICE_TEST.pdf [nesinc.com] I would think it reasonble to expect a new undergrad in science or engineering to do this (before they start forgetting stuff). But this exam is non-trivial, and would be very tough for someone without several years of undergraduate math (like say, a humanities teacher).
  • It is not knowing the subject better than your students that makes you a good teach. My father used to say "All need to do to teach a class is to read the textbook before the students do." The most important thing is understanding your target audience. Which of course is something the board of education never bothers to test for, isn't it? Half of all new teachers wash out within the first few years because they think if they just present the material, the students will magically absorb it. The ones that su

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