## Monday, June 2, 2008

### How to earn high grades in Reform Math

I just got back from a parent-teacher conference with my daughter's 1st grade teacher in which, following my earlier bafflement, I finally learned the answer to this question.

-It's not enough to get the right answer.  (Trivial, since Reform Math math is so easy).

-It's not enough to be mathematically advanced.  (Teachers don't assess skills that exceed the low, state-mandated standards).

We're talking about problems like 7 + 8.

You can say things like:

I subtracted 1 from the 8 to make it 7, and then added 7 and 7 to get 14, because I know my doubles, and then added 1 to get 15.

or

I added 1 to the 7 to make it 8, and then added 8 and 8 to get 16, because I know my doubles, and then subtracted 1 to get 15.

But you can't say:

I just know that 7 + 8 is 15 because I've done this problem so many times that I've memorized the answer.

Apparently, my daughter is now providing acceptable explanations--if not about how she actually solved the problem, then about how she would have solved the problem had she not been stricken with that unfortunate side-effect of repeated exposure to addition problems.

Namely, rote memorization of addition facts.