Posts tagged ‘education’

Big Brother Knows My Sons Are Smarter Than I Am

CWGYHEL QUizWhile pointing and clicking, I stumbled upon an online quiz, Can We Guess Your Education Level? Intrigued, I tolerated the 70‑question multiple-choice quiz to see if they could make an accurate prediction. Sure enough, they correctly declared, “It looks like you’re a master with that Master’s Degree.”

How did they know?

The optimist in me thinks they use some incredible adaptive engine to figure out exactly what I know and what I don’t, and then they use that information with a correlation of what people at various educational levels know. Sounds plausible, right?

But the pessimist in me was pretty sure they just mined info from my LinkedIn and Facebook profiles, and they likely knew the answer before I responded to a single question.

So, I tested my theory. I took the quiz a second time and deliberately missed a bunch of questions. When I finished, I scored only 21%, and they told me, “It appears that you completed high school, and then graduated from the School of Life.”

Okay, so it is at least based on percent correct. I’m still dubious that it’s rigorous, but at least it isn’t digging through my personal information just to dupe me.

For fun, my 9‑year old son said that he’d like to take the test. And this is when I knew it was complete bullshit — because he scored higher than I did:

PhD Result

Hold on a second. You’re telling me that I spent five glorious years at the Pennsylvania State University earning my undergraduate degree, and then I spent five magnificent years at the University of Maryland earning my master’s degree, and yet my son — who hasn’t spent even five years total in the educational system — was able to outperform me on an academic quiz?

“Hello, is this Penn State? I’d like my money back.”

What really got me, though, is that the math on this quiz — just like every other online quiz, multidisciplinary test, and academic competition — was paltry.

Speed Question

There were seven math-related questions on the test, none of which rose above the level of “basic,” and some were even lower than that. But don’t take my word for it; decide for yourself…

  1. Speed is defined as…
  2. What is the name of the result when you add four numbers and then divide the sum by 4?
  3. What is the definition of binary?
  4. How many events are in a decathlon?
  5. What is the value of the Roman numeral IX?
  6. Who wrote The Elements, and what was it about?
  7. The year 1707 is part of which century?

Can we all agree that these are rather easy math questions? It makes me wonder if our discipline is just so abstract or elusive that even the most basic of questions is perceived as difficult by a large portion of the population. If so, what accounts for this perception?

Your thoughts are most welcome.

March 29, 2017 at 4:27 pm Leave a comment

What I’ve Been Up To

To all of my friends who haven’t heard from me for nearly two years: I apologize. Sorry. I owe you a beer.

But I have a good excuse. I’ve been very busy trying to do something revolutionary.

In fact, I have a sign on my office window that explains what we’re trying to do.

Office Sign
I work for a great company.

Discovery Education Logo
We’re developing an incredible curriculum.

Math Techbook Logo

And I work with the most incredible math team ever assembled.

  • Marjan Hong, who knows more about Common Core and effective teaching than anyone I’ve ever met.
  • Peg Hartwig, who never met a piece of technology she didn’t love, and who just may be the greatest Algebra II teacher in the history of ever.
  • Shelley Rosen, who’s a master of math representations, as evidenced by the Tallies, Ten Frames, and Baseball Games resource that she created for Illuminations.
  • Brenan Bardige, who keeps it real by developing astounding, authentic, real-world problems for kids to solve (and he should know; his graduate research looked at assessment problems that kids would solve with a method other than the one the problem was trying to assess).
  • Sia Robinson, who understands how kids learn math, and who reminds me daily how important it is for kids to learn math effectively.

I’d love to tell you all about Math Techbook… about all the amazing math tools we’ve built into the web-based curriculum… about the 200+ interactives we’ve woven through six courses… about the teacher dashboard and the inquiry-based approach we’re using and all the other good stuff… but there’s just no time! Tomorrow, we’re having a big release party. Really big. I mean, MASSIVE. But good news! You’re invited! Lots of cool people will be there, like Danica McKellar, who played Winnie Cooper on The Wonder Years but then got a Ph.D. in math from UCLA; Skip Fennell, past president of NCTM; Portia Wu, assistant secretary at the U.S. Department of Labor; Mark Edwards, superintendent in Mooresville, NC; and, Michele Weslander-Quaid, innovation evangelist at Google (and a very powerful woman).

As well as hundreds of our closest friends from districts all over the country. And thousands more will be joining us on the web.

I hope you can join our live-streamed launch event, too.

Register Here – Math Techbook Launch Event

If you can’t make the launch event, I hope you’ll still check out what we’ve been up to.

Learn More About Math Techbook

And if you’re one of the people to whom I owe a beer, gimme a call on January 9.

January 7, 2015 at 1:23 am Leave a comment

Ignorance is Bliss, and Other Fallacies

Alex and I were enduring a silence induced by a dozen oysters and two Abita Ambers. “You seem happy here,” I said.

“Just like everyone in New Orleans,” he said. “Louisiana always ranks near the bottom in education but near the top in happiness.”

Is that really true? And are the states ranking highest in education the least happy? It seems weird to think that there’s an inverse relationship between education and happiness, but you know what they say: ignorance is bliss.

To test this theory, I consulted several sources.

(All of the data that I gathered is shown in the table at the bottom of the post.)

As the following graph shows, there is a strong positive correlation between happiness and diplomas (r = 0.71).

Happiness vs. DiplomasSimilarly, there is a positive correlation between happiness and IQ, but it’s not quite as strong (r = 0.51).

These analyses suggest that the least educated states seem to be the least happy, and vice versa. So despite what you’ve heard, it appears that ignorance is not bliss.

Tune in tomorrow, when I attempt to show that:

  • Neither a bird in the hand nor two in the bush are worth as much as a partridge in a pear tree.
  • The ratio of prevention:cure is slightly greater than 1:16.
  • Fewer than 2.4% of the Earth’s population are worth their weight in gold (about $3 million for a 150-pound person), but more than 99.9% are worth their salt (less than $500 for table salt at retail prices).
  • Your thoughts are more valuable than a penny saved or a penny earned.

State

Happiness Rating

State IQ

Population % with HS Diploma

Alabama

64.2

94.9

82.1%

Alaska

66.1

97.5

91.4%

Arizona

67.1

96.4

84.2%

Arkansas

64.1

96.3

82.4%

California

67.4

94.9

80.6%

Colorado

69.7

99.2

89.3%

Connecticut

67.6

100.6

88.6%

Delaware

66.6

99.1

87.4%

Florida

65.8

98.0

85.3%

Georgia

66.1

96.9

83.9%

Hawaii

71.1

95.9

90.4%

Idaho

67.1

98.9

88.4%

Illinois

66.6

98.6

86.4%

Indiana

65.1

99.3

86.6%

Iowa

68.1

98.7

90.5%

Kansas

67.7

99.6

89.8%

Kentucky

62.7

98.3

81.7%

Louisiana

64.7

95.5

82.2%

Maine

67.3

99.4

90.2%

Maryland

68.0

99.9

88.2%

Massachusetts

68.1

102.4

89.0%

Michigan

65.6

97.4

87.9%

Minnesota

68.9

101.0

91.5%

Mississippi

63.6

93.8

80.4%

Missouri

65.5

99.4

86.8%

Montana

68.5

100.3

90.8%

Nebraska

68.5

99.2

89.7%

Nevada

65.2

95.3

83.9%

New Hampshire

68.4

100.9

91.3%

New Jersey

66.1

101.4

87.4%

New Mexico

66.7

94.8

82.8%

New York

66.2

98.7

84.7%

North Carolina

65.7

97.8

84.3%

North Dakota

67.4

100.5

90.1%

Ohio

64.6

99.7

87.6%

Oklahoma

65.2

96.4

85.6%

Oregon

67.1

98.8

89.1%

Pennsylvania

66.5

100.6

87.9%

Rhode Island

65.5

97.3

84.7%

South Carolina

65.2

97.0

83.6%

South Dakota

68.0

100.3

89.9%

Tennessee

64.0

96.7

83.1%

Texas

66.6

98.2

79.9%

Utah

68.8

98.5

90.4%

Vermont

68.6

101.2

91.0%

Virginia

67.7

99.1

86.6%

Washington

67.7

99.6

89.7%

West Virginia

61.3

94.9

82.8%

Wisconsin

67.3

99.7

89.8%

Wyoming

67.9

99.2

91.8%

October 19, 2013 at 9:31 am Leave a comment


About MJ4MF

The Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks blog is an online extension to the book Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks. The blog contains jokes submitted by readers, new jokes discovered by the author, details about speaking appearances and workshops, and other random bits of information that might be interesting to the strange folks who like math jokes.

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