Headline July 12, 2015/ ''' ! SMARTER THAN WHO..... -AN 8TH GRADER ? '''

''' ! SMARTER THAN WHO..... 

-AN 8TH GRADER ? '''

WHEN THE GREAT MATHEMATICIAN CARL GAUSS was a young boy, his teacher is said to have asked his class the sum of all the numbers from 1 to 100.

Gauss supposedly supplied the answer almost instantly : 5,050.

The teacher, flabbergasted, asked how he knew. Gauss explained that he had added 1 and 100, 2 and 99,  and realized that there would 50 such pairs each summing 101. So 50 times 101 equals 5,050.

WHAT IS THE SUM OF the three consecutive whole numbers with 2n as the middle number?
A. 6n+3
B. 6n
C. 6n-1
D. 6n-3.

Operational research shows that more than three-quarters of South Korean kids answered correctly [it is B]. Only 37 percent of American kids were correct, lagging their peers from Iran, Indonesia and Ghana. 

We know Johnny can't read; it appears that Johnny is even worse at counting.

The Educational Testing Service released a global report finding that young adults from the United States rank poorly in reading but are even worse in math   -the worst of all countries tested.

This is the generation that will be in the labour force for the next half-century, struggling to compete with citizens of other countries.

It's not just that American results are dragged down by poverty. Even American millennials with graduate degrees score near the bottom of international ranks in numeracy.

Let me just interrupt this research with another problem:
How many degrees does a hand of a  clock turn through from 6:20 a.m. to 8.a.m on the same day:
A. 680 degrees.
B, 600 degrees.
C. 540 degrees.
D. 420 degrees.

Only 22 percent  of American  eighth-graders correctly answered B, below Palestinians, Turks and Armenians.

In a recent writing, one distinguished author offered a paean to the humanities. But it's also true, as a professor notes in a letter to the editor, that science majors do take humanities courses.

In contrast, humanities majors often desperately avoid any semblance of math or science  [except for classes like  ''Physics for Poets''.]

Numeracy isn't a sign of geekiness, but a basic requirement for intelligent discussions of public policy. Without it, politicians routinely get away with using statistics, as Mark Twain supposedly observed, the way a drunk uses a lamppost:

" For support rather than illumination."

[ I believe American high schools and colleges overemphasize calculus and don't sufficiently teach statistics. Statistical literacy should be a part of every students and citizen's tool kit.] 

Public debates often dance around basic statistical concepts, like standard deviation, because too few Americans understand them. And people assume fat too much of   "averages".

After all, American adults have, on average, one ovary and one testicle. But try finding such an average person."

Another pop quiz:
A piece of wood was 40 centimeters  long. It was cut into three pieces.  
The lengths in centimeters are 2x -5, x+7 and x+6.
What is the length of the longest piece?

Only  7%  of American eighth graders got that one right  [the answer is 15 centimeters].

In contrast, 53% of Singaporean eighth graders answered correctly.

Let's reset the Gausses of the world for being annoyingly smart. But let's not use that as an excuse to hide from the rigor of numbers. 

Countries like Singapore manage to impart extraordinary math skills in ordinary children because they work at it. 

Numeracy isn't just about numbers, of course. It's also about logic. To enumerate, here then is a logical puzzle:
You're in a dungeon with two doors. One leads to escape to other to execution. There are only two other people in the room, one of whom always tells the truth, while the other always lies.

You don't know which is which, but they know that the other always lies or tells the truth. You can ask one of them one question, but, of course, you don't know whether you are speaking to the truth teller or the liar.

So what  'single'  question can you ask one of them that will enable you to figure out which door is which and make your escape?

And this is not a trick question?

And then, to sum up,  -having read, all that, I for one will always wonder, if there is a real global testing on writing talent or ability? Those results too would make for a damn interesting knowledge and read.

With respectful dedication to the Students, Professor and Teachers of the world. See Ya all on !WOW!   -the World Students Society Computers-Internet-Wireless:

''' Global Stage '''

'''Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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