Can’t Do My Homework Anymore

It’s not a clever title but it leads into a great Fleetwood Mac song, guaranteeing one worthwhile feature of the post:

On with the post, which concerns a study conducted by academics at the University of South Australia and Nova Scotia’s St. Francis Xavier University, reported in their 2023 paper, Mathematics homework and the potential compounding of educational disadvantage. The study was announced a month ago in a UniSA media release, Numbers do not add up for maths homework, and was accompanied by the subsequent Educator report, Maths homework causing more harm than good – study. This all sounded like nonsense, so I took a quick look at the paper. I gagged, considered the work required to even skim the nonsense and decided to ignore it. Then frequent commenter Dr. Mike lobbed a Science Alert report at us, Math Homework Can End Up Doing More Harm Than Good, Study Shows. A third temptingly silly headline made me ponder further but I still decided to ignore it. Then then on the week-end Greg Ashman wrote a little about the study in his weekly curios. At which point I decided “to Hell with it”, and here we are. Continue reading “Can’t Do My Homework Anymore”

WitCH 138: Second Rate

Not counting the Witchfests on Nelson‘s Proof and Complex chapters, I don’t think we’ve had a textbook WitCH for quite a while. This one is hardly in the same league but it’s been on my to do list for a long time and it’s definitely a source of irritation. The topic came up in discussions with a colleague today, and I’m too busy and too tired to do the posts I should be doing, so this’ll do for now. It is an example from the differential equations chapter of Cambridge’s Specialist Mathematics 3 & 4, and it is related to this previous WitCH from the same text and chapter. As was the case with the previous WitCH, it is a representative, one of a type.

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TNDOT 5: The Party of the First Part

This multi-TNDOT is a little different, not as high a level or as old school as the previous ones, but the questions still seem pretty wild. We haven’t thought about the questions at any length, but conceivably they could also be used to challenge/tease younger students.

The TNDOT consists of two questions, each with two parts, from the 1911 Victorian Pass Algebra Matric exam. The exam paper instructed students to answer only one part from each question but we run a tough blog here and all readers are expected to answer all questions. As usual, commenters might refrain from posting answers too quickly, so that other readers have a chance to have a go. Have fun. Continue reading “TNDOT 5: The Party of the First Part”

AMT’s Trust Issue

Last year, I wrote about the Australian Maths Trust, on CEO Nathan Ford’s absurd censoring of an AIMO question, and on the aftermath. I later wrote a little about my maddening correspondence with Ford and Board Chair, Belinda Robinson. I then considered it done, at least for me.

A few weeks ago, however, I was contacted by a person who has worked with AMT. That person had some interesting things to say about the current state of AMT. The person has kindly permitted me to reproduce what they wrote, and it follows.

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ACARA’s Senior Moment

ACARA, it seems, has embarked upon a review of the senior curriculum. They just forgot to tell anyone.

OK, that’s not quite true. The Terms of Reference, embedded below, provide for certain groups to be represented at information-providing fora for the various subjects, with a subsequent “consultation” of unspecified nature. And to be fair, having learned at least one thing from the debacle of the F-10 curriculum review, ACARA has invited mathematician organisations to participate in such a forum. The mathematicians’ input will presumably be swamped by that of the maths ed people and the education bureaucrats, and then ARACA’s “working group” will go off to do whatever they please, but at least a few mathematicians will be in the vicinity.

The general public, however, has not been invited to participate in the review, and seemingly has not even been informed of the review’s existence. Although the senior curriculum process supposedly began in 2023, there is still no notification of the review on ACARA’s curriculum page, or on ACARA’s curriculum review page, or on ACARA’s senior curriculum page, or anywhere we could see. Transparency, thy name is not ACARA.

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