[Paleopsych] NYT: Wrong, Wrong and Wrong: Math Guides Are Recalled
checker at panix.com
Sat Apr 9 17:15:58 UTC 2005
The New York Times > New York Region > Wrong, Wrong and Wrong: Math Guides Are Recalled
March 25, 2005
[It looks like the NYC school system is reaching DC levels of
By SUSAN SAULNY
City education officials were forced to recall test preparation
materials for math exams late Wednesday after discovering that they
were rife with errors, including basic arithmetic mistakes.
The materials were intended for math students in grades 3 through 7,
but the faulty information - at least 18 errors - was found before it
reached classrooms. The testing guides were e-mailed late Wednesday to
regional instructional specialists, math coaches and local
instructional superintendents and recalled a few hours later.
Some answers in the guide were wrong. Other questions suffered from
odd wording, the incorrect notation of exponents and sloppy diagrams.
Besides the math mistakes, there were problems with grammar and
spelling. For instance, the word "fourth" was misspelled on the cover
of the fourth-grade manual.
According to school officials, a fact-checker within the department
failed to do a proper job.
"We have a clear protocol for review of all materials," said Carmen
Fariña, the deputy chancellor for teaching and learning. "In this
case, a member of my staff inexcusably failed to follow our protocol,
and I have written a letter of reprimand to the person's file. We
recalled the materials within hours, corrections to the guide will be
made, and it again will be distributed digitally."
That explanation did not pacify parents and teachers.
"They should not be allowed to make all kinds of excuses," said Jane
Hirschmann, co-chairwoman of a parents' organization called Time Out
From Testing. "The fact is, if third- or fifth-grade students made the
mistakes made in the test prep materials, they would be flunked and no
one would be asking them for an explanation."
Several math coaches and teachers who had seen the test preparation
manuals yesterday notified Randi Weingarten, the president of the
United Federation of Teachers. Ms. Weingarten seemed outraged.
"Tweed has no problem with excessively criticizing teachers for
failing to meet its picayune mandates," Ms. Weingarten said, referring
to the Department of Education by the name for its headquarters, the
Tweed Courthouse. "But then it produces a test prep manual riddled
with errors and misspellings. The hypocrisy is stunning. They could
avoid embarrassing things like this if they were more collegial and
shared these documents with us, instead of running things in a
top-down management style that does not welcome or want input."
Dr. Alfred Posamentier, the dean of the City College School of
Education and a professor of mathematics, said his staff would have
been happy to help review the materials.
"Official documents sent out by the Department of Education carrying
their imprimatur have a great deal of influence on teachers and
students and must be perfect," he said. "And in particular, in
mathematics where you have such an exact science, there is no room for
More information about the paleopsych