Math curriculum support workshop number five

Math curriculum support workshop number five was held on Friday 01 February 2013 at Madolehnihmw High School. Due to a change in my own schedule, the session was able to begin earlier in the afternoon than the fall sessions. Leaving the college at 1:45 I was able to arrive just before three in the afternoon.

With the COMET admissions examinations looming, the session was a brief session which focused on mathematics problems that the instructors were apparently having difficulty explaining to the students. The problems involved mixtures and differential rates of travelers.

I took a diagrammatic approach to solving these problems, solving them in pictures before working on the mathematics.

The questions were from some practice instrument off of the Internet. I was reminded yet again of the need for the college to provide a practice test for students. I was also reminded of the intensely high stakes measurement that the COMET presents for these students. Quite unintentionally the college has created what, out in the municipality, feels like a national college entrance examination. And maybe the COMET is exactly that - a national college entrance examination. The COMET is an entrance test and the college is quick to point out that it is the nation's college. With stakes that high, a real practice test ought to be available to the students.

The college is aware of the need to move beyond a single high stakes test, and there have been small steps made in that direction, but much more needs to be done as pointed out in the recommendations in  a report from spring 2012. The college should be looking not just at the overall grade point average of a student as a floor requirement, but should also be looking at their academic stream (academic college prep, business, technology and industry, agriculture) along with individual classes and grades when making admissions decisions.

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