Friday, November 12, 2010

Are American Students Really Math Dumpkopfs?

The latest comparative math scores and analysis disclose American High Schoolers are literal goobers without a clue when it comes to the skills to do advanced math. Tests have disclosed the following dismal results of which we all ought to be collectively ashamed:

1) The U.S. placed 31st amongst 56 nations in demonstrating ability to perform advanced math skills (e.g. such as one would find in a typical intermediate algebra course, and trigonometry)

2) Only 6% of all U.S. High school students demonstrated a solid and consistent ability to solve such problems.

3) The state with the highest performance at advanced math level was Massachusetts, but even there barely 11% of high schoolers qualified.

4) White suburban kids in suburban schools aren't that great shakes either, with only 8% scoring at the advanced ability level.

Can readers meet this challenge? Here are some problems to see where you stand. Answers will be given in a blog next week:

In 1-3, simplify the given expression or perform the given operation then simplify as much as possible.

1) 5 (2x^2 - 6x)- (4x^2 - 3x)

2) 4[50]^1/2 - 3[18]^1/2

3) (x^2 + 2x - 3)/ (x^2 - 3x + 2)

In 4-5, factor completely:

4) x^2 - 9x + 18

5) x^2 + 10x + 25 - 9y^2

6) Graph the functions: f(x) = 2x and g(x) = 2x + 4 on the same coordinate axes.

7) Find the slope of any line that is perpendicular to the line whose equation is:

x + 4y - 8 = 0

8) Write the equation of the line passing through the point (3, -5) and perpendicular to the line whose equation is: x + 4y - 8 = 0

9) Solve the quadratic equation:

x^2 - 4x + 16 = 0

10) A student fires a model rocket in a field and wishes to obtain its altitude. He has his friend stand exactly 300 meters away with a theodolite that measures the angle of the rocket at its maximum altitude. If the angle is found to be 60 degrees, how high did the rocket go?

If you wish to be considered amongst the elite HS students from those nations near the top, you ought to be able to work every one out. A "U.S. standard" of performance would be getting 3 of 10 at best!

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