Tar Him, Feather Him and Give Him a Box of Matches to Play With


When an adult took standardized tests forced on kids


Revealed: School board member who took standardized test

And get back with me. I’ll be playing the Jeopardy Theme…

Back now?

I got hold of a pdf of the “test” this moron with 2 masters degrees (in education, of course) took. His carping (from a summation by his interviewer), “The math section, he said, tests information that most people don’t need when they get out of school,” is typical. Of COURSE most people will never NEED to have at their fingertips the information that there are 360 degrees in a circle and that the hours of a clock face (obviously–duh: 360/12) divide those degrees up into 30-degree chunks. (see pic below) That’s just ONE way to get the correct answer, without guessing, to one of the easy-peasy questions on the maths test. But, as Lovely Daughter pointed out to me in email, such problems as that particular question posed ARE easily answered with very simple reasoning, no math needed.


And so it proved for the entire math test. Indeed, most of those questions that weren’t simple addition, subtraction, multiplication or division (4th grade stuff, at best) HAD THE FORMULAS PROVIDED TO SOLVE THEM! The rest? Any formulas or processes were blatantly obvious to anyone competent in sixth to eighth grade math.

All the unthinking test taker needed to do with such fare would be to plug the data into their (provided) calculator.

Simple, basic reasoning ability and the ability to read simple text and follow directions: that’s ALL the test measured.

His gripe about the math test is that no one he knows needs to know any of that information, so kids shouldn’t be tested on it? Well, they’re not. The test is a math test like a “driver’s test” at a kiddie bumper-car ride is Le Mans. The test is simply a test of whether those taking it can think their way out of a wet paper bag.

And the guy’s gripe about the reading test?

“On the FCAT, they are reading material they didn’t choose. They are given four possible answers and three out of the four are pretty good. One is the best answer but kids don’t get points for only a pretty good answer. They get zero points, the same for the absolute wrong answer…”

Well, duh. It’s a TEST, dumbass! Do employees choose all their reading material at work, or do they have to follow directions? Do people really WANT to read the directions for taking a prescription medication? Is “reading” but not comprehending such material really a Good Thing? OF COURSE reading COMPREHENSION is a survival and success attribute, but this guy thinks kids should only be quizzed on whatever they WANT to read, and that getting wrong answers is just as good as actually understanding the printed word and being able to use information thus transmitted to get correct answers.

This guy’s a perfect example of those things that are wrong with education in America. We’d all be better of if he and his ilk were placed on chain gangs making little rocks out of big ones. For life.

Note: while I am absolutely convinced that there is ample evidence to assert that “education departments” of colleges and universities are intellectual wastelands largely populated by the least intellectually gifted attending college or university, I also know a number of standout exceptions to that rule. There are good teachers who are bright, capable and hard-working. Unfortunately, I think the evidence is strong that those who combine those characteristics are not the norm in education.

My hat’s off to good teachers everywhere. Sadly, I don’t feel I need tip it all that often.

Oh, the asininity of it all. A couple more “problems” from the math “test” (for 10th graders!):

You simply HAVE to be kidding me, right? OK, these kinds of things ARE useful for anyone who does crafts, woodworking or just general handyman stuff. And simple. Again, not hard or requiring specialized knowledge. Consider instead the octagon as comprised of triangles, with the intersection in the middle formed by extending the short sides of the trapezoids above. Now, we have the solution to the problem. Easy-peasy. Using a carpenter’s square is more difficult.

Another? Again, no real math required, just simple reasoning:

Any idiot who knows that 1/8 of anything is a smaller amount than 1/2 of the same thing doesn’t even have to blink to select the answer. Of course, if one simply doesn’t know that 1/8 of a thing is a smaller amount than 1/2 of the same thing, then such a person is open to all kinds of mischief being done to them in the course of their illiterate, unthinking life.

Now, this last one does involve some very, very simple arithmetic–division, multiplication–but any 10th grader, especially armed with a calculator, for heaven’s sake, who can’t do this sort of thing is very likely a self-made idiot. And any dumbass with two masters degrees (in “education”) like the one featured in the two linked articles that has to guess at an answer for this should just put a plastic bag over his own head for the good of humanity:

Simple clue, not that readers here would really need such things:

1. Compute the circumference: r(3.1416)=42(3.1416)=~131.94.
2. Divide 131.94 by 5 =~26.39

Divide by 5? Yeh. The angle given describes an arc that’s 1/5 the circumference (360/72=5), as a nanosecond’s thought would reveal. Of course, the test takers would have calculators, so that might slow them down. *sigh*

Look, I was a music major in college (Yep, a gen-you-wine “BM”-er), my masters is in another “humanities” area, and I’ve had scant use for math in various jobs I’ve had, apart from working on budgets, shirt sleeve audits of accounts I was responsible for, simple carpentry “honey dos” and etc. This just ain’t rocket science, folks. ANYONE who’s not dumber than a bag of hammers and who’s had any decent arithmetic classes up through sixth or perhaps eighth grade should find these things insulting in a “test”.

3 Replies to “Tar Him, Feather Him and Give Him a Box of Matches to Play With”

  1. I saw a small version of the math test. I hated math and sucked at it in school and yet I managed to get 100% on the sample test.

    Until I did that, I actually felt some sympathy. If these teachers can’t pass tests like that, they don’t need to be teaching, IMO.

    1. I didn’t care much one way or another about math until 4th grade, when we were hit with “new math” and everything I had learned to that point was rendered into nonsense. From that time on until my junior year of high school, math made no sense whatsoever to me, and I just DGARA. Then… Mrs. Heinz. She taught math because she loved math. Period. Had plenty of “family money,” I heard from someone I knew in the high school supervisors’ offices. I picked up a minor infection of math appreciation from her that carried me–a music major!–through a couple of semesters of college calculus. Along the way, I recalled the weird lil things that I had done with numbers before getting screwed over by “new math”. (Yeh, for me, numbers have colors and shapes and positions in time and space. Some have sounds. Weird, but works for me. *heh*)

      People who can’t do math (whether they like it or not) are easy prey for con men of all stripes–particularly politicians and Mass MEdia Podpeople. And people who can’t simply read directions, which is all most of the “math problems” in the test really require, no real math skills at all, are nothing but self-made sheeple just waiting to be fleeced.

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