Math Teachers Flunk Math Exams

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Uh-oh. Some 2,400 public school math teachers in North Carolina have failed the math exam they need to pass to get their teaching license ( The good news is, you can keep on taking the test until you pass it. The bad news is, each time you take it, there’s a fee.

Naturally, the testing firm, Pearson, is being blamed for making the test too hard. In other states where they use the Pearson math exam, a lot of teachers fail it.

Others pass–but let’s not talk about that, shall we?

Some teachers have complained that they are expected to know more math than their students. You can’t make this stuff up. I didn’t get where I am today, knowing more math than the kids.

Meanwhile, for anyone who cares to tackle the question, fill in the blank: I send my kids to public school because __________.


9 comments on “Math Teachers Flunk Math Exams

  1. It’s hard to describe the esteem I have for the current “educational” system and still use polite language. It has become farcical. A good math teacher should be able to do the math they teach forward, backward and upside down.

    In network design and troubleshooting we work a lot with 8-bit (0-255) numbers and it takes many years to become facile in such math. The instructors I had could do this in their heads and do it instantly. That was actually essential to their role as an instructor, because it demonstrated that it is possible to do such math in your head. After years of study, I’ve learned how, but it never would have happened without great instructors.

    So what’s with the math teachers? If I’d like to,take that test myself. I doubt that I’d go to the expense just to prove a point, but it would be I teresting to see where I stand compared to the basic requirements for a math teacher.

    If you reduce it to its essence, I think most parents use the schools as a form of daycare.

    1. I have this archaic notion that the teacher ought to know the subject better than the student. But that’s racist or something.

    2. That is just pure hate, Lee, plain and simple. 🙂

      The whole thing is ridiculous. As a way of appearing open-minded and accepting, large segments of the world have actually become pushovers who will fall for anything.

      As an adult, I’ve taken a lot of technical courses involving aviation, computer networks, electronics, etc. Instructors that really knew their subject stood out and brought the material to life.

      Instructors that were just going through the motions stood out too, sort of like a sore thumb stands out. If you asked questions, their answers were canned, sterile and probably a direct quote from the textbook. In more than one case, I didn’t so much learn from the class as I endured the class.

      If an instructor tries to teach children without truly having mastery over their subject, they can do a lot of harm to their students.

      That’s the A side, but there is a B side as well.

      If, as the article claims, they are testing above and beyond the levels required, I can see this as a problem. I have taken Pearson tests myself and know that they are tough. You can know the material and still fail the test.

      I recently took an industry test proctored by Pearson and I had to learn the material, memorize the terminology (because they want precise wording) and learn as much as I legally could about the test itself. I thought that the test was well-written, but I’m not certain that it actually tested my abilities as much as it tested memorization. The two are not the same.

    3. With a math test, though, what’s to memorize? You can either solve the problem or you can’t. But then I’ve never taken a Pearson test. I haven’t taken any kind of test since I was in college.

      Having taught in public schools, and studied, ahem, “education” at a teacher’s college, I find it very easy to believe there are teachers who don’t know any more than the kids do. And more than just a few.

  2. I’m reminded of the somewhat sobering levity…

    What do you call a med student who is at the bottom of his class?

  3. So if you’re a kindergarten teacher, you should only have to know kindergarten level math? Wow. I think some people operate on the level of a six year old their entire lives.
    You better believe I know more math than the kids I teach, lol.

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