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”

NSW’s Requisite Sense and Nonsense

This one is old, and older, but it should still be done. First off, a couple weeks ago NESA issued a media release, notifying people that mathematics would continue to be optional in NSW senior high school. This was the new Labor government’s killing off of a 2019 Gladys plan to make senior mathematics compulsory. Why the reversal? Because, as we wrote at the time, the original plan was really, really stupid. Continue reading “NSW’s Requisite Sense and Nonsense”

Boaler Gets Called for Chucking

A few days ago, Stanford University received an anonymous complaint against Jo Boaler, the Nomellini-Olivier Professor of Education at Stanford. The complaint, which was first reported in the Washington Free Beacon, consists of a 100 page document, a compilation of Boaler’s alleged transgressions. The story was then picked up by Stephanie Lee at the Chronicle of Higher Education.

The inspiration for the complaint, and a good deal of its substance, appears to be Brian Conrad‘s critique of citations in the California Mathematic Framework (and see also this), in which Boaler and her work played a significant role. The “Executive Summary” of the complaint summarises it,

This complaint alleges that Dr. Jo Boaler has engaged in reckless disregard for accuracy through citation misrepresentation, asks that Stanford investigate, and if the allegations are confirmed, take appropriate disciplinary action.

What to make of it all? To be honest, I don’t much care.

Continue reading “Boaler Gets Called for Chucking”

A Secondary School From the 1970s

Obviously, “school behaviour” is being very much discussed these days, and I recently posted on the absurdity of the idea that a “behaviour curriculum” might be a meaningful way to address this. Pondering while writing the post, and then pondering the many very interesting comments in response, I’ve thought some about my own school education in the 60 and 70s, and the culture of my schools at the time. My primary school education, at the local Macleod State School, was in the main pretty traditional, which was both bad and, mostly, good. There were no straps although in the early years there were still “rulers” and some other needlessly authoritarian impulses, but mostly it was sensible and meaningful, disciplined in the good sense, and human; I have written a little about Macleod State, here and here and here. My secondary education, however, was different in important ways. By the 70s, the cultural revolution of the time, which I touched upon in this post, had begun to significantly affect schools. So here, for whatever it is worth, is some of my ponderings of that time of change (all with the caveat that these are fifty year old memories). It is simply reminiscing. There may be a moral in there but, if there is, I’m not sure what it is. Continue reading “A Secondary School From the 1970s”

The Obtuseness of a “Behaviour Curriculum”

I’m way, way late to this one and classroom behaviour is not my department. Anyone willing to announce to their class “I used to be an axe murderer and if you don’t learn how to solve linear equations then I’m going to kill you” should probably not be pronouncing too loudly on this stuff. But the behaviour thing got up my nose recently, and what’s a blog for if not to get things out of your nose? Continue reading “The Obtuseness of a “Behaviour Curriculum””

Welcome, You New Guys

Over the last few days there has been a number of new subscribers to this blog: the influx has raised the total to seventeen. I guess you new guys are somehow a byproduct of the ABC story on VCAA’s maths exams, but I’m not sure exactly how. Presumably someone wrote a social media thing saying “Marty isn’t an asshole, you should subscribe”, or “Marty is an asshole, you should subscribe”, or something. Anyway, welcome, and if you care to indicate how you got here, I’m curious. Continue reading “Welcome, You New Guys”