[ExI] a new low

Kevin H kevin.l.holmes at gmail.com
Thu Dec 20 18:08:25 UTC 2007

On 12/20/07, Damien Broderick <thespike at satx.rr.com> wrote:
> (Manchester Evening News)
> A LOTTERY scratchcard has been withdrawn from sale by Camelot - because
> players couldn't understand it.
> The Cool Cash game - launched on Monday - was taken out of shops
> yesterday after some players failed to grasp whether or not they had
> won.
> To qualify for a prize, users had to scratch away a window to reveal a
> temperature lower than the figure displayed on each card. As the game
> had a winter theme, the temperature was usually below freezing.
> But the concept of comparing negative numbers proved too difficult for
> some Camelot received dozens of complaints on the first day from players
> who could not understand how, for example, -5 is higher than -6.
> Tina Farrell, from Levenshulme, called Camelot after failing to win
> with several cards.
> The 23-year-old, who said she had left school without a maths GCSE,
> said: "On one of my cards it said I had to find temperatures lower
> than -8. The numbers I uncovered were -6 and -7 so I thought I had won,
> and so did the woman in the shop. But when she scanned the card the
> machine said I hadn't.
> "I phoned Camelot and they fobbed me off with some story that -6 is
> higher - not lower - than -8 but I'm not having it.
> "I think Camelot are giving people the wrong impression - the card
> doesn't say to look for a colder or warmer temperature, it says to
> look for a higher or lower number. Six is a lower number than 8.
> Imagine how many people have been misled."
> A Camelot spokeswoman said the game was withdrawn after reports
> that some players had not understood the concept.
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This doesn't suprise me and it shows you why some people are having troubles
in the work force.  Comparing negative numbers has always been tricky, but
this is something that should have been hammered in during school as
students begin learning this in elementary school and math classes continue
to build on this knowledge in every successive class.  Another thing that
trips people up are fractions and percentages.  I don't know what a GCSE is,
but I wonder if she graduated from high school?  I wonder because it
wouldn't surprise me if she did: they at least used to be big on so-called
social promotion.  Shortly before I graduated they started standardized
testing as a requisite for graduation (at least in Arizona) and I thought it
was a great idea, but apparently the parents started an uproar because it
turned out that most of their children weren't passing, especially the math
part.  They put in loopholes in the graduating requirements before AIMS in
my high school so that you could essentially graduate from high school
without ever having taken algebra.  So effectively, the high school diploma
is a meaningless credential; so I'm hoping that standardized testing
criteria for graduation can change that.

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