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This is nothing new and has nothing to do with COVID. I hired people at a mall video arcade in 1981 and 82. About half had problems counting up a $100 cash box and figuring out dollar values of a jar of loose change. I had to start giving a simple 10 question math test to all applicants. Again, about half couldn't pass the test. Questions were something like this:

How many quarters in a $10 roll.

How many dimes in a $5 roll.

How many nickels in a $2 roll.

How many pennies in a 50 cent roll.

A kid brings a bag of loose change with 30 dimes, 50 nickels, 100 pennies and a dollar bill. How many quarters would you give him?

And a few other coin mix questions.

My mother was a retired math teacher who had agonized over her students; seeing them come to her grade less prepared each year and often not caring about it. I called her one day and told her some of them could not get minimum wage jobs because of their poor math skills.

I'm ok with weeding out. The things that bother me are either the student was capable but not properly prepared, and/or, the grades assigned did not reflect actual performance.

If the college doesn't use SAT/ACT, they must rely on high school grades. They must either be accepting students with known inadequate transcripts, or the transcripts were not correct. The former is on the college for accepting them and the latter is on the education system for not properly preparing students or not providing true grades to the student and to colleges.

I just did a quick check of university admission requirements at my alma mater (UW, Seattle), and UC Berkeley. Both claim they don't require ACT/SAT for admission. But contradictions to that statement later emerge, as you get into details on math and reading/writing proficiency.
The UW was very clear, however, on the fact that they allow students to "self-report" their HS studies, and grades. But if accepted to the school, they have to produce an official transcript. Once the admissions office has the official transcript in hand, they can require the student to do his/her math or writing catch-up (if needed) in the summer before starting their freshman year or online. Berkeley requires all incoming freshmen to take a basic writing course. Students who want to test out of it can submit their SAT/ACT score for the logic and writing portion of the exam. Math competency is handled similarly.

But are you talking about students who, after college graduation, having completed whatever college math was required (and math specific to their field), still aren't up to snuff? Their college transcript doesn't accurately reflect their weak skills? I can see how that would be a big problem for employers.

When you have a shaky foundation in math, you are not going to be prepared to advance to the next level.

It doesn't mean that you are stupid or bad at math. It simply means that you need to go back to the beginning and build a solid foundation BEFORE you attempt a college level math class.

How are these kids doing well enough on the SAT/ACT to place into STEM programs at these colleges? When I took a math placement test at my college, there is no way that I would have placed into college level math if I had not taken an online refresher course.

Remember that many/most schools are test-optional. They may not have taken the SAT/ACT at all.

I just did a quick check of university admission requirements at my alma mater (UW, Seattle), and UC Berkeley. Both claim they don't require ACT/SAT for admission. But contradictions to that statement later emerge, as you get into details on math and reading/writing proficiency.
The UW was very clear, however, on the fact that they allow students to "self-report" their HS studies, and grades. But if accepted to the school, they have to produce an official transcript. Once the admissions office has the official transcript in hand, they can require the student to do his/her math or writing catch-up (if needed) in the summer before starting their freshman year or online. Berkeley requires all incoming freshmen to take a basic writing course. Students who want to test out of it can submit their SAT/ACT score for the logic and writing portion of the exam. Math competency is handled similarly.

But are you talking about students who, after college graduation, having completed whatever college math was required (and math specific to their field), still aren't up to snuff? Their college transcript doesn't accurately reflect their weak skills? I can see how that would be a big problem for employers.

Yes, I think many colleges are doing similar things to compensate for lack of math skills coming in.

For the question, I'm actually talking about kids coming out of high school, who believe (because they had good grades, been told that, etc) that they are much better at math than the really are, and, in this case, colleges discovering through things such as a placement test, that the kid is not in fact ready for college math. This creates at least two concerns for me: First that they are coming out of school improperly prepared and second that the school mislead them and the colleges that they are properly prepared.

It's not about whether a student could, with proper preparation, do the work, but that school is not doing it.

I just did a quick check of university admission requirements at my alma mater (UW, Seattle), and UC Berkeley. Both claim they don't require ACT/SAT for admission. But contradictions to that statement later emerge, as you get into details on math and reading/writing proficiency.
The UW was very clear, however, on the fact that they allow students to "self-report" their HS studies, and grades. But if accepted to the school, they have to produce an official transcript. Once the admissions office has the official transcript in hand, they can require the student to do his/her math or writing catch-up (if needed) in the summer before starting their freshman year or online. Berkeley requires all incoming freshmen to take a basic writing course. Students who want to test out of it can submit their SAT/ACT score for the logic and writing portion of the exam. Math competency is handled similarly.

But are you talking about students who, after college graduation, having completed whatever college math was required (and math specific to their field), still aren't up to snuff? Their college transcript doesn't accurately reflect their weak skills? I can see how that would be a big problem for employers.

Today, as opposed to years ago, kids use a calculator from 7-8th grade onward..graphing calculator.

I had no calculator 1-12 and only a 4 function calculator allowed in the early college math classes and a scientific one after that (no graphing calculators allowed).

So pretty much you had to know a lot more in your head because you didn't have a smart machine in your hand to do all the work.

I had to teach my son how to graph an equation on graph paper.
You know..the 2 columns of x and y and the equation in the middle and then plot the points.
He didn't learn it in class because the calculator did all the work.

This is nothing new and has nothing to do with COVID. I hired people at a mall video arcade in 1981 and 82. About half had problems counting up a $100 cash box and figuring out dollar values of a jar of loose change. I had to start giving a simple 10 question math test to all applicants. Again, about half couldn't pass the test. Questions were something like this:

How many quarters in a $10 roll.

How many dimes in a $5 roll.

How many nickels in a $2 roll.

How many pennies in a 50 cent roll.

A kid brings a bag of loose change with 30 dimes, 50 nickels, 100 pennies and a dollar bill. How many quarters would you give him?

And a few other coin mix questions.

My mother was a retired math teacher who had agonized over her students; seeing them come to her grade less prepared each year and often not caring about it. I called her one day and told her some of them could not get minimum wage jobs because of their poor math skills.

And people claim algebra does not apply to real life..........

How do those questions involve algebra? Only elementary math is needed.

In elementary math we write something like: 7 + [] = 10. What number goes in the box?

In algebra we write that as: 7 + X = 10. Solve for X.

Same problem/same question but stick an X in there and people lose their minds.

Question: When am I ever going to use algebra?

Answer: Every time you solve a simple problem. From adjusting a cake recipe to balancing your checkbook to making correct change without the cash register to tell you, you are using algebraic thinking.

How do those questions involve algebra? Only elementary math is needed.

That's arithmetic. Knowing your times tables is arithmetic.
It becomes mental math by the time you reach algebra.

Put that in an algebraic expression with a variable and that becomes algebra.
You use arithmetic to solve algebra problems.

You got kids out of HS that still don't know their times tables because rote is considered a bad way to learn.

Personally I learn everything new by "rote"...repetition over and over until it becomes second nature.

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