I am no fan of standardized testing, but New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof appears to be. And his 4/25 column (“Are You Smarter Than an 8th Grader?”), which uses such measuring tools to make a point, is distressingly misleading.
In order to demonstrate our country’s incompetence in mathematics, he presents three questions from a 2011 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) test administered worldwide to eighth graders.
The first question:
What is the sum of the three consecutive whole numbers with 2n as the middle number?
Only 37% of USA kids got it right (the correct answers are at the bottom of this post). Continue reading “Innumeracy and Chicanery”