Get back to teach­ing arith­metic

The Hamilton Spectator - - OPINION -


The on­go­ing strug­gle in the EQAO math­e­mat­ics tests have many well-known prob­lems (at least by teach­ers). The re­cent ar­ti­cles in the Spec­ta­tor brought many of them for­ward. The most ridicu­lous was that ESL stu­dents just re­cently en­ter­ing our school sys­tem don’t un­der­stand, and their re­sult­ing mark of zero im­pacts the av­er­age, and badly if the neigh­bour­hood school has a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of these stu­dents. But a big­ger prob­lem that some­how seems to be ig­nored by the min­istry, if no one else, is that stu­dents don’t know arith­metic. We se­niors amaze young peo­ple by be­ing able to do rel­a­tively sim­ple mul­ti­ply­ing or di­vid­ing in our heads, no cal­cu­la­tors needed. Why did the ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem feel that sim­ple arith­metic was some­thing stu­dents no longer need to do? If they have the ba­sics of arith­metic, wouldn’t so-called “math­e­mat­ics” be eas­ier to grasp? I guess I am show­ing my age when I think of math­e­mat­ics as al­ge­bra, ge­om­e­try, trigonom­e­try or cal­cu­lus, not what the EQAO calls math­e­mat­ics. Den­nis Martin, Bin­brook

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