What’s 1% of 100?
I finally managed to take a look at the Providence Journal story about the abysmal math scores of Rhode Island’s high-school students, and I have to say that I think Dan Yorke‘s show may be underrepresenting the problem.
The woman from the Department of Education whom he was in the process of interviewing when I left my job site asserted that the old way of teaching math (you know, memorizing and treating mathematics as essentially a system of facts, rather than impressions) worked for 25–30% of students. The average listener might have compared that percentage to Rhode Island high schoolers’ current 22% proficiency rate, while her figure is probably more appropriately compared with the “proficient with distinction” category.
It’s anecdotal, but I’d say that around 30% of my early-’90s high school class (around 45 students) could be counted on to achieve distinction on such tests, which in this case means a score of at least 554 of 580, or about 95%. According to the current data, 123 students in all of Rhode Island managed that feat. That’s one percent.