New on the blogroll

I’ve added Kitchen Table Math, which is a bliki, a cross between a blog and a wiki, “about doing math with your children.” Hosts are the very intelligent and similarly named Catherine Johnson and Carolyn Johnston.

Scroll down for a link to the Singapore Math placement test.

The Singapore tests are an eye-opener, because you see exactly how far behind our kids really are.

If we had moved to Singapore at the end of 4th grade, Christopher would have been placed in second semester 3rd grade. That’s a gap of 18 months by the age of 10.

I’ve also added University Diaries by Margaret Soltan, an English professor with a keen eye. She’s posted her results on the Trump Success Test, despite the humiliation of flunking the “wealth motivation” category. She got a D in greed. (No Kerry jokes, please. Oh, go ahead.)

About Joanne


  1. Tom West says:

    Singapore math? YIKES!

    I thought my kids were reasonably talented at math… Not in Singapore, that’s for sure. It is an eye-opener.

    I’m curious though, is this a curriculum that is expected to be passed by (essentially) all students in the educational system? If so, I really am impressed.

  2. Singapore Math is not difficult if you start at the beginning and follow it all the way through, step-by-step. If you throw in a lot of wasted time with discovery or hands-on projects, the kids won’t master the basics upon which everything else stands. If you jump in the middle and compare 5th grade Singapore Math with any NCTM-oriented 5th grade math workbook, you might wonder how you could get very many kids up to that level. The problem is not Singapore Math. The problem is NCTM math. How can NCTM math progress so slowly through the basics and still not achieve any verifiable improvement in conceptual understanding or problem solving?

    However, there is the problem (at least in our neck of the woods) of full-inclusion, where the school tracks same-age kids of all abilities and teaches them in mixed-ability groupings. This requires fuzzy and low year-to-year expectations even though many IEP parents feel that direct instruction and higher expectations work better. One of our school committee members calls it a divisive issue. I guess so. So, we get NCLB with its low standards that hopefully everyone can meet and still many do not!?! The school is happy if they “meet expectations” according to the state’s test, even though only those with outside help from parents or tutors will ever get enough math to be prepared for college prep (or honors or AP) math and therefore have a chance at a technical career. Has anyone notice the big boom in tutoring companies or “learning centers”?

    I liked this question in the Singapore math 3rd grade placement test:

    8. Peter, Paul, and Mary shared a pizza. Peter and Paul each had 2/5 of the pizza. How much pizza did Mary have?

    The answer is 1/10, because she shared half of her portion with Puff, the Magic Dragon.