Can Adults Pass School Achievement Tests?
December 06, 2011, 01:49 AM
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About a half-dozen years ago, the Gates Foundation talked the L.A. school board into passing a rule that nobody could graduate from high school without passing Algebra II (as well as Algebra I and Geometry). Each year since, implementation of that edict has been delayed for a year, although, supposedly, this year's class of high school freshmen will absolutely have to pass Algebra II to avoid going through life as high school dropouts. We're Not Kidding This Time!

It's amusing to contemplate school board members trying to pass Algebra II.

Marion Brady writes in the Washington Post about a wealthy friend who is on a school board. He decided to take his district's test for 10th graders. 

“I won’t beat around the bush,” he wrote in an email. “The math section had 60 questions. I knew the answers to none of them, but managed to guess ten out of the 60 correctly. On the reading test, I got 62% . In our system, that’s a “D”, and would get me a mandatory assignment to a double block of reading instruction. 

He continued, “It seems to me something is seriously wrong. I have a bachelor of science degree, two masters degrees, and 15 credit hours toward a doctorate. 

“I help oversee an organization with 22,000 employees and a $3 billion operations and capital budget, and am able to make sense of complex data related to those responsibilities. 

“I have a wide circle of friends in various professions. Since taking the test, I’ve detailed its contents as best I can to many of them, particularly the math section, which does more than its share of shoving students in our system out of school and on to the street. Not a single one of them said that the math I described was necessary in their profession."

My view is that it's very important that our society identify and educate the kids who can handle the standard algebra-calculus-and beyond math track required to be an engineer or the like. That justifies humiliating and wasting the time of the majority who can't master the standard math track through calculus ... up to a point. 

But, doesn't anybody know of a study of what % of jobs require somebody to use Algebra II level math?