Friday, October 30, 2015

Math problems of the week: sample 12th grade Chinese vs. American math assessment questions

I. A sample question from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), otherwise known as the Nation's Report Card:

II. A sample question from the Gao Kao, a college entrance exam typically taken by high school seniors:

III. Extra Credit

Discuss these two problems in light of:

1. The recently reported drop in America's 4th and 8th grade NAEP scores.

2. The claim by Americans that Chinese math is all about mindless rote memorization.


It has recently occurred to me that Americans routinely make similar claims about Chinese musicians. Consider how often we hear things like "They may have great technique but they play robotically." From my experience at various amateur and professional piano and violin recitals, I'd say that Americans' claims about Chinese musical performance are of about as valid as their claims about Chinese mathematical performance.

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