Devastating math by overemphasizing process

Check out this homework assignment a parent emailed me today which her child got 10/40 on. Most of the problems were correct but he didn’t show his work. 2 of the 10 points were for putting his name on his paper. Clearly a violation of principle for this teacher since his name is memorized and he didn’t draw a picture of himself…

What do you even do with teachers so full of this kind of nonsense. It reminds me of when my daughter was in 4th grade and had to draw 120 circles and separate 30 at a time to do long division. That didn’t last and I explained to the teacher that she understood the concept and wouldn’t be doing that nonsense anymore. Remember, schools are a SECONDARY SUPPORT to YOU in YOUR primary responsibility to educate YOUR children.
“So I had to pass this along. My son attends Vista Heights Middle School and is in the 7th grade. Attached is my son’s homework he brought back home today. He didn’t get points for the VAST majority of his homework because he didn’t show his work. He didn’t show on paper how he knew his multiplication facts and could add and subtract small numbers in his head. We are now punishing our 7th graders for knowing their multiplication facts and knowing basic math!! I went through his paper and there were a few he did genuinely get wrong. But the bulk he got right and didn’t get ANY points because he didn’t show his work. When I asked my son what happened he said his teacher said, “memorizing your multiplication is NOT a method“. He is to re-do his assignment and draw pictures showing how he arrived at the answer. No need to memorize your multiplication facts in elementary school, they’re just going to have you draw pictures in middle school! No need to learn how to add 2 and 2, you’re going to have to draw a number line or sticks in middle school to add it up!! Of all the ridiculous things!!”


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7 thoughts on “Devastating math by overemphasizing process”

  1. Have the parent and the teacher (especially the teacher) read my articles on a common sense approach to Common Core: here and here.

    Of interest, is that Bill McCallum, lead writer of the CC math standards agrees that such emphasis on drawing is uncalled for; he refers to my first article on his blog

  2. Totally asinine. Requiring someone to dump the contents of their brain for answers that can reasonably be considered self-evident is nothing more than an exercise in authoritarian control.

    This may pass as education by some measures, but it certainly doesn’t equate to any type of meaningful learning. When teachers feel like they need to respond to their students’ work in this way, it causes all sorts of conflicts for parents. As a parent, how can you honestly teach your kids to respect the teacher’s authority when a teacher can’t demonstrate a little common sense?

    1. Thank you…Common Sense is perhaps the most frustrating item lacking from the Common Core..(the rest can be fixed…but Common Sense cannot be taught)… Crazy!

  3. Maybe it’s just me, but I sure would want my surgeon of the future to have a sound grasp of, and respect for accuracy and exactness. Same applies to future airline pilots who will responsible for getting me safely to see grandkids.

    But What do I know? I’m not a public school administrator…

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