Maths Anxiety Is Still Not a Thing

I’m late to this. Things have been busy, and not good. Still, the work goes on and this has to be done.

Last week, The Centre For Independent Studies came out with yet another “Analysis Paper”: Facing Up to Maths Anxiety. The paper is by “eminent professor David C Geary” and was launched with the standard fanfare, including a Canberra Times op ed by Geary and a companion ABC article by CIS’s Lead Education Pontificator, Glenn Fahey. Continue reading “Maths Anxiety Is Still Not a Thing”

Jo Boaler, Hypocrite?

Jo Boaler, the Nomellini-Olivier Professor of Education at Stanford University, was one of the main culprits behind the new California Mathematics Framework. (See here for Stanford mathematician, Brian Conrad‘s detailed criticism of the CMF). As part of the fight over the CMF, Boaler also had a run-in with Berkeley computer scientist, Jelani Nelson, and see also here and here. Boaler and her fellow clowns won, of course, which means, amongst other things, that high school algebra is now screwed up for millions of Californian public school kids. But, as Jelani Nelson has just reminded us, private schools are freer to do their own thing:

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TNDOT 3: The Remainders of the Day

Here’s a third entry in our Teaching New Dogs Old Trigs Tricks series: the first three questions from the 1907 Victorian Matric Algebra exam.* As well as the computational aspects, readers might be interested in contemplating what was expected for the proof parts, as well as how one might fruitfully present such results to students now, a century later.

*) TNDOT 2 is also in the process of being updated. Stay tuned.

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Misinformation and the Eulering Of Nate Silver

Sometimes it seems that there is no choice but to write a post.

Last week, Australia’s censorship asshole was back in the news. Julie Inman Grant and her team of goons have a new report out, which Inman Grant announced with a predictable warning of “a perfect storm” of online hate. Fair enough: I, for one, loathe this woman and am happy to declare it online. Or in person. Or by post. Or by carrier pigeon, if that’s all that’s going. Inman Grant’s hysterical message never really changes, however, and my loathing for her never really changes, so I decided to spare readers a new post. But then I stumbled upon a Twitter battle between Nate Silver and a misinformation guru. Still no reason to post: Twitter clowns are in plague proportions, of course. But then then I saw that the misinformation clown had decided to go in for a little Eulering. That was too much, and here we are. Continue reading “Misinformation and the Eulering Of Nate Silver”

A Sum of “Complex” Numbers

We really want to get on to other things, but this needs to be done. Below is pretty much a complete cataloging of Nelson‘s use of the adjective “complex” in the five recent WitCHes (here, here, here, here and here). To be clear, there is tons more wrong, and bad, in the selected excerpts in the WitCHes: the proper WitCH updating, currently scheduled for late 2029, will be long and painful. But the use of “complex” warrants particular attention. It reflects VCAA’s complex madness, and we doubt that it is a coincidence. Continue reading “A Sum of “Complex” Numbers”

WitCH 119: Poly Want a Cracker?

Last one. These are excerpts from the final section of Nelson‘s complex numbers chapter. Similar to the previous WitCHes, I’ve tried to not be manipulative material in selecting the material except, of course, in selecting the worst bits: the worked examples not indicated are standard, and in general the working is tedious but ok; a monotonous but essentially correct proof of the conjugate root theorem is included in the text.

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WitCH 118: The Chaos Factor

I was gonna go with The Sot-Weed Factor, but that was too cute a title, even for me.

We’re now getting to the VCAA-related material, which prompted this whole series. The last two sections of Nelson‘s complex numbers chapter are on factors and roots of polynomials. Below are excerpts on factorisation. (For the sake of interpretation, note that: the factor and remainder theorems are stated reasonably clearly, but of course with no hint of a proof; these two theorems are followed by two standard “worked examples”; the working of all the worked examples is painfully earnest and slow, but is close enough to correct.)

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WitCH 116: Polar Bare

This is our second WitCH on Nelson‘s chapter on complex numbers. As with our first WitCH, we have not excluded any definitions or arguments or explanations from the text that would fill apparent (and actual) gaps in the selected material; the rest of the subchapter consists of routine examples and less problematic (but far from unproblematic) exposition. Continue reading “WitCH 116: Polar Bare”