VCAA’s Welcome, Cowardly Redactions

It’s difficult get a handle on VCAA these days, which seems to be suffering from Multiple Personality Disorder. There are some indications of significant and positive change but there also signs of businessing as usual. To be clear, the MPD is a dramatic improvement over VCAA’s previous decades of unceasing sociopathy and narcissism. But it also makes it difficult to comment on VCAA doings right now, since the mixed messages mean that we don’t know which VCAA is in control. Such is the case with VCAA’s recent exam redactions. Continue reading “VCAA’s Welcome, Cowardly Redactions”

Barney’s Rubble

I’m late to this, but I’m late to everything these days. (Next week: my take on whether Barbie or Oppenheimer is the better movie.*) A few months ago, I wrote about the ACT literacy and numeracy inquiry. The primary concern of the inquiry is the SES inequity of ACT schools, with the immediate suspect for this inequity being the high level of school independence within the ACT system. The inquiry was conducted by an Expert Panel, chaired by “distinguished university educator”, Professor Barney Dalgarno. The submissions (including my small offering) are here. Now, from a few weeks ago, the Final Report is available, accompanied by an Executive Summary and a Community Summary. In general, the Report appears to have been well received, with the ACT Government also agreeing “in principle” to the acceptance of the Report’s recommendations. I am less receptive. Continue reading “Barney’s Rubble”

VCAA Wants to Know What You Think

That title may be a trifle strong. But at least VCAA is giving you the option of saying what you think.

VCAA has just launched a questionnaire on the mathematics Study Design, specifically on whether there is a need for review (hat tip, John.) The link is here, and the questionnaire can also be found down the stairs at the bottom of each subject webpage, in the fine print. Behind the door with the sign, “Beware of the leopard”. Continue reading “VCAA Wants to Know What You Think”

WitCH 140: Honey, Don’t

We’re snowed with grading essays for the Evil Mathologer, and we’re trying very hard to get to a few larger posts. But for now, a quick WitCH. We don’t pay much attention to Foundation Mathematics, which is supposed to be the Easier Than Easy Maths Subject. Commenter Ron, however, emailed us about the following question on VCAA’s sample exam, posted last year. (See also this post.)

You have 90 seconds, and your time starts now.

Continue reading “WitCH 140: Honey, Don’t”

Boaler, Conrad and the War of the Tattletales

Stanford mathematician Brian Conrad is a prominent critic of the California Mathematics Framework. During the drafting phase, Conrad worked insanely hard documenting the flaws in the CMF and in particular documenting the many examples of citation misrepresentation. Conrad’s work subsequently appeared to form the basis of an anonymous complaint made to Stanford University regarding CMF author and Stanford’s Nomellini-Olivier Professor of Education, Jo Boaler (Stanford Daily). Conrad has denied being involved in the complaint and it is highly implausible that he was: why would he transform a carefully crafted public critique about the CMF into a rambling and anonymous complaint about Boaler? Nonetheless, Stanford has now also received a complaint about Conrad, which seemingly includes the accusation that Conrad was involved in the anonymous complaint against Boaler (Stanford Daily). Which is all hilarious.

Continue reading “Boaler, Conrad and the War of the Tattletales”

Dan, Dan the Hot Dog Man

This is a frivolous post, sort of about maths teaching, which begins with an irrelevant and even more frivolous story, sort of about dance teaching.

My daughters learn dancing from Jodie Greenwood, who was a highly accomplished dancer and is an even more accomplished teacher, perhaps the best teacher, of anything, that I have ever witnessed. Jodie’s school is small now and runs on a shoestring, but a decade ago it was large and still ran on a shoestring. One of the Carrollian features of the school then was that it appeared to offer more scholarships than there were students. The school appeared to lack a good financial manager. Continue reading “Dan, Dan the Hot Dog Man”

90 Degrees and 60 Minutes

Last week, and a year late, 60 Minutes got to the story of the two black American kids who came up with a “trigonometric proof” of Pythagoras’s theorem. Their report was sweet, manipulative and absurd. The two girls were charming, their mathematics teacher and their school more generally seemed cultured and intelligent, the 60 Minutes reporter was a beaming idiot, and the girls’ impressive and unexplained achievement was blown out of proportion by a factor of about a thousand. There was not a mathematician in sight. Continue reading “90 Degrees and 60 Minutes”

Good Book Burning and Bad Book Burning

The whole of Australia is pissed right now, with a Sydney council that decided to ban books on same sex parenting. Fine. But when librarians team up with a frickin’ Aboriginal clown to burn books somehow everybody cheers.

Evidently, some book burners are more equal than others. Continue reading “Good Book Burning and Bad Book Burning”

AMSI’s Undisciplined Message on Enrolments

AMSI put out a media release yesterday, announcing their Groundhog Day Participation Report Card on school mathematics enrolments. It’s probably no spoiler to give the spoiler: enrolments suck. Which brings to mind a Two Ronnies joke, revamped for this occasion:

“What time does the Specialist Mathematics class start?”

“What time can you get here?” Continue reading “AMSI’s Undisciplined Message on Enrolments”