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lewelma

SAT Math - pretty bad situation - UPDATE #2

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25 minutes ago, JoJosMom said:

 

I think you missed the part about BEGIN with voice. As in, start. Then fix the mechanics. You do Brave Writer a grave disservice by implying that their program ignores mechanics; they don't.

I would argue that the shocked response is also doing New Zealand educators and students a bit of a disservice. The type of essays that Ruth is talking about that this student writes for exams have fine mechanics.

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Does she need the writing portion of the SAT? Only a few schools require it and the trend right now is to not require it.

fwiw, I agree with Frances. My kids are not used to any type of tests (pretty much in any subject other than their math books which come with them inside of them.) I am not a test giver and most definitely not a worksheet giver. As a matter of fact, today my 7th grader and I were reading a selection from a writing book that talked about the different levels of thinking and how they were probably used to the majority of their assignments looking like fill in the blank type exercises and then included examples of what most students were doing for school work. She looked at me in a mix of fascination and disbelief and asked if that was what they really did in school like why one earth would anyone do that!!  My kids have never seen a worksheet from me. 

Yet, they can easily adapt to MC tests when they need to. I don't think the format is going to be an issue.

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5 minutes ago, Farrar said:

I've seen a TON of student writing as a classroom teacher and sometimes tutor. I still agree with that position. I might add for all you shocked folks... this is actually the foundation of Brave Writer, one of the most popular homeschool writing programs. I could write a lot more on this (at least, I could if I didn't have to go get a kid from theater tech) but I honestly am shocked that so many people here are this appalled. As always, things in the US are a bit all over the place, but this is not unknown in the US.

You've seen a ton of upper division undergrad and graduate student writing? 

 

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52 minutes ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

Does she need the writing portion of the SAT? Only a few schools require it and the trend right now is to not require it.

No, not the essay. She doesn't need it. I was talking about the "Writing and Language Test" which I referred to as the 'writing portion.' Sorry for the confusion. But interestingly when she hear about the essay, she was all for that. "Oh, I'm good at that." So no fear of writing under time pressure. 

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1 hour ago, Farrar said:

I would argue that the shocked response is also doing New Zealand educators and students a bit of a disservice. The type of essays that Ruth is talking about that this student writes for exams have fine mechanics.

 

Well, I would argue that the NZ high school system is not much into editing.  There is only ONE assessment in English each year where they work to bring two papers up to publishable standards. For the rest of the exams and assessments in all subjects (English included), spelling, mechanics, and punctuation is not marked down on for any essay, and all exams are essay based.  They mark on Blooms Taxonomy of thinking.  The lowest levels (memory and comprehension) earn you a C. The middle level (relate, compare/contrast) earn you a B.  And the highest level (analyze, apply, critique or abstract thinking for things like math) earn you an A. This system is designed into every exam and every assessment in ALL subjects for the national system that all schools must use.  NZ grades on level of thinking, not percentage correct.  And it doesn't mark off for spelling and mechanics, as they have little to do with level of thinking. It is a totally different system of grading than in America. 

I would add that there is no grade inflation here: approximately 15% A, 25% B, 40% C, 15%F. (other 5% kind of distributed out). So showing insight by analyzing/applying/critiquing is not easy.  You can't just slide by into an A, even in academic PE or music. 

Edited by lewelma
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3 hours ago, maize said:

Saying to hospital and in hospital is also the norm in England and Australia, I think we North Americans are the outliers (I believe Canadian usage is like U.S. usage on this one?)

Quoting myself because I just realized that we do have parallels to the to/in hospital construction in US English.

I went to school yesterday/I will be in school tomorrow

He is going to court today/he was in court today

We are going to church/we are in church

We just don't apply the construction to hospitals while speakers of some other English dialects do.

 

 

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7 hours ago, EKS said:

You've seen a ton of upper division undergrad and graduate student writing? 

 

She just said “student” so mo. Middle and high school. The student in question is a high school student.

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7 hours ago, Farrar said:

She just said “student” so mo. Middle and high school. The student in question is a high school student.

I understand that the student is in high school. 

My point is that high school students who haven't internalized proper grammar and mechanics turn into upper division undergrad and graduate students whose writing is barely intelligible, and I am certain that their writing is not a reflection of the way they speak or somehow the result of the evolution of language.  My experience in two graduate programs at middle of the road institutions is that the vast majority of these students have no idea how to edit their own writing.

That said, I don't think it's necessary to go all SWB on grammar to achieve the internalization necessary to write competently.  But it is tremendously helpful for a student to have an MCT level of understanding (say ML1 level).

 

Edited by EKS
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1 minute ago, EKS said:

I understand that the student is in high school. 

My point is that high school students who haven't internalized proper grammar and mechanics turn into about upper division undergrad and graduate students whose writing is barely intelligible, and I am certain not a reflection of the way they speak or the evolution of language.  My experience in two graduate programs at middle of the road institutions is that the vast majority of these students have no idea how to edit their own writing.

That said, I don't think it's necessary to go all SWB on grammar to achieve the internalization necessary to write competently.  But it is tremendously helpful for a student to have an MCT level of understanding (say ML1 level).

 

This may just be beyond the framework of the thread. But I've seen a lot of kids who had trouble writing intelligently. IME, a better understanding of grammar and the ability to do the type of work that's on the SAT does not significantly improve it. Native speakers already have an innate understanding of grammar. If they struggle to get their thoughts on the page in an intelligible way then I don't think teaching direct grammar is the best way to improve it. And studies seem to confirm that.  Good mechanics, as I said above, are a gift you give your reader. Reading a piece without commas or with tons of misspelled words is more difficult to slog through for the reader. But is teaching editing in and of itself the way to get there? I don't think so. And many places, like NZ apparently, don't, and turn out writers who are just as proficient and understandable as those who slogged through a great deal of grammar instruction. I would say it's other skills and supports that help them get there. Not spending time learning parts of speech or drilling how to pick out which passage in a list is missing a comma.

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I feel like the best way to improve kids' writing is to have them write a lot and give them detailed feedback on everything, including grammar and mechanics, but most definitely not limited to those. But this is straying rather far from the topic at hand :-). 

Edited by square_25
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From my limited experience of 2 (myself and my oldest daughter) we both did extremely well on the SAT verbal portions just because we had read so widely.  We had little to no grammar teaching but read 2-3 hours a day -- you just internalize it.  Better readers make better writers, and better able to intuit the rules without actually learning them.  

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34 minutes ago, Farrar said:

This may just be beyond the framework of the thread. But I've seen a lot of kids who had trouble writing intelligently. IME, a better understanding of grammar and the ability to do the type of work that's on the SAT does not significantly improve it. Native speakers already have an innate understanding of grammar. If they struggle to get their thoughts on the page in an intelligible way then I don't think teaching direct grammar is the best way to improve it. And studies seem to confirm that.  Good mechanics, as I said above, are a gift you give your reader. Reading a piece without commas or with tons of misspelled words is more difficult to slog through for the reader. But is teaching editing in and of itself the way to get there? I don't think so. And many places, like NZ apparently, don't, and turn out writers who are just as proficient and understandable as those who slogged through a great deal of grammar instruction. I would say it's other skills and supports that help them get there. Not spending time learning parts of speech or drilling how to pick out which passage in a list is missing a comma.

 

So what you are saying is knowing how to use mechanics is desirable but formal programs aren’t good at teaching it? It’s better to teach it as part of writing?

 

I teach grammar, some of it at least, but not SWB amount. I find it useful to have a vocabulary to communicate my thoughts. For example, I can tell my kid to turn something into an infinitive phrase to improve the sentence, and he knows what I mean. Most of all though I find it useful to know English grammar in order to explain foreign language grammar. I don’t know how we would have tackled studying French grammar if they didn’t understand what a verb was or draw parallels between various tenses. 

Edited by Roadrunner
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6 minutes ago, Roadrunner said:

 

So what you are saying is knowing how to use mechanics is desirable but formal programs aren’t good at teaching it? It’s better to teach it as part of writing?

 

I teach grammar, some of it at least, but not SWB amount. I find it useful to have a vocabulary to communicate my thoughts. For example, I can tell my kid to turn something into an infinitive phrase to improve the sentence, and he knows what I mean. Most of all though I find it useful to know English grammar in order to explain foreign language grammar. I don’t know how we would have tackled studying French grammar if they didn’t understand what a verb was or draw parallels between various tenses. 

I am saying that teaching explicit grammar and spending time on editing other people's mechanics in the way that is currently done in US schools in workbook style and on standardized tests is not useful. Spending time actually honing your own writing to be readable - which would include learning those skills in context - is something else.

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11 minutes ago, SanDiegoMom in VA said:

  We had little to no grammar teaching but read 2-3 hours a day -- you just internalize it.  Better readers make better writers, and better able to intuit the rules without actually learning them.  

This is true for some people but not all. It only works if you learn this way. I have the opposite experience. I read widely. Two of my older three kids read widely. None of us just naturally pick up proper grammar or spelling. All of us required specific teaching and repetitive practice to get it.

It is different than this, but I will use this example anyway. I worked for a month on solving Rubix cubes using a set algorithm. I did it hundreds of times. At the end of that time, I still needed to reference the algorithm. My DH used parts of the same algorithm a handful of times and had it memorized (and probably still does). I simply do not learn by immersion without specifically trying to understand, memorize, or learn something. Some people do; some don't.

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11 minutes ago, SanDiegoMom in VA said:

From my limited experience of 2 (myself and my oldest daughter) we both did extremely well on the SAT verbal portions just because we had read so widely.  We had little to no grammar teaching but read 2-3 hours a day -- you just internalize it.  Better readers make better writers, and better able to intuit the rules without actually learning them.  

I'm going to disagree. Just bc some people can and do does not translate to avid readers making better writers. 

Fwiw, I have had to teach my kids comma rules, parallel construction, etc. I have witnessed plenty of other "avid reader" kids' writing to know my kids are not unique in requiring explicit instruction to internalize things like only nonrestrictive participle phrases require commas when used at the end of a sentence.

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4 minutes ago, RootAnn said:

This is true for some people but not all. It only works if you learn this way. I have the opposite experience. I read widely. Two of my older three kids read widely. None of us just naturally pick up proper grammar or spelling. All of us required specific teaching and repetitive practice to get it.

It is different than this, but I will use this example anyway. I worked for a month on solving Rubix cubes using a set algorithm. I did it hundreds of times. At the end of that time, I still needed to reference the algorithm. My DH used parts of the same algorithm a handful of times and had it memorized (and probably still does). I simply do not learn by immersion without specifically trying to understand, memorize, or learn something. Some people do; some don't.

 

Just now, 8FillTheHeart said:

I'm going to disagree. Just bc some people can and do does not translate to avid readers making better writers. 

Fwiw, I have had to teach my kids comma rules, parallel construction, etc. I have witnessed plenty of other "avid reader" kids' writing to know my kids are not unique in requiring explicit instruction to internalize things like only nonrestrictive participle phrases require commas when used at the end of a sentence.

 

We have been very lucky then it seems!  My oldest in particular is like a sponge -- whatever she is reading at the time gets regurgitated in her writing.  One year her writing was extremely long winded and filled with semi-colons and commas. I can't remember which author she was reading at the time,  but then she switched to Terry Pratchett and then her style started mirroring HIS instead. 

But anyway, back to the original subject:) 

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32 minutes ago, Roadrunner said:

 

So what you are saying is knowing how to use mechanics is desirable but formal programs aren’t good at teaching it? It’s better to teach it as part of writing?

 

I teach grammar, some of it at least, but not SWB amount. I find it useful to have a vocabulary to communicate my thoughts. For example, I can tell my kid to turn something into an infinitive phrase to improve the sentence, and he knows what I mean. Most of all though I find it useful to know English grammar in order to explain foreign language grammar. I don’t know how we would have tackled studying French grammar if they didn’t understand what a verb was or draw parallels between various tenses. 

The benefit for foreign languages to the extent it exists applies primarily to other Indo-European languages, those from Europe in particular. Those are a small subset of world languages though admittedly they are the ones most likely to be studied by Americans.

Non Indo-European languages often have grammar so different from ours that trying to view them from the framework of English grammar can actually be a detriment.

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1 hour ago, Farrar said:

This may just be beyond the framework of the thread. But I've seen a lot of kids who had trouble writing intelligently. IME, a better understanding of grammar and the ability to do the type of work that's on the SAT does not significantly improve it. Native speakers already have an innate understanding of grammar. If they struggle to get their thoughts on the page in an intelligible way then I don't think teaching direct grammar is the best way to improve it. And studies seem to confirm that.  Good mechanics, as I said above, are a gift you give your reader. Reading a piece without commas or with tons of misspelled words is more difficult to slog through for the reader. But is teaching editing in and of itself the way to get there? I don't think so. And many places, like NZ apparently, don't, and turn out writers who are just as proficient and understandable as those who slogged through a great deal of grammar instruction. I would say it's other skills and supports that help them get there. Not spending time learning parts of speech or drilling how to pick out which passage in a list is missing a comma.

I completely agree that grammar alone cannot improve incoherent writing, and that it may be the *last* thing that needs to be put in place on the road to good writing (the first being having a thorough understanding of what you're trying to write about).  But where I disagree with you is in the idea that proper grammar is only icing on the cake.  While good grammar does not make writing good, you can't have good writing without good grammar.  

And I'll say it again.  I don't think it's necessary to slog through years of grammar instruction to understand the grammar needed for good writing.  A relaxed year with MCT would easily do the trick.  

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2 hours ago, SanDiegoMom in VA said:

 

 

We have been very lucky then it seems!  My oldest in particular is like a sponge -- whatever she is reading at the time gets regurgitated in her writing.  One year her writing was extremely long winded and filled with semi-colons and commas. I can't remember which author she was reading at the time,  but then she switched to Terry Pratchett and then her style started mirroring HIS instead. 

But anyway, back to the original subject:) 

 

This has not been our experience at all. At all. 

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My younger son is an interesting example of both ideas.  He has *very* advanced and correct grammar usage in his writing due to his reading, but has a complete lack of understanding of any of the constructions he is using.  At the age of 12, he still did not know where to put a period let along a comma, despite years of grammar like MCT and more traditional approaches like KISS.  He is both language gifted and dysgraphic.  So somewhere in his brain there is a clear dichotomy between language construction/composition and any sort of ability to understand which ideas combine to make a sentence (see story example below).

All traditional direct grammar texts and workbooks were a complete failure.  I tried many for about 5 years The best workbook for him was Killgallon high school, as it went through the advanced constructions and had him move them around into different parts of the sentence. He did this orally, and would just listen to the different feelings each gave. Eventually, this helped him to see the different constructions as units of grammar. But the bigger thing that I had to do, was dictation for 3 full years 30 minutes a day from the age of 12 to 15.  During this time, I would dictate to him his favorite fantasy novel, and would correct his spelling word for word, and then discuss the grammar and punctuation in context, occasionally mentioning the rules and at other times having long conversations about how language fit together. He needed *direct* instruction but it still had to be *whole language* instruction. This approach was very teacher intensive, but the only way forward that we could find. He can now edit his own work reasonably well. 

But after all this work and so much success, I look at the SAT writing and language test and don't think there is a chance that he can do it. Editing someone's writing is NOT the same as editing your own. His response would be to rewrite the whole thing to make it better, and he is a good enough writer that his improvements would be improvements.  Doing it the way the SAT tests will be close to impossible without a TON of very specific test prep drill. 

------------------------

So for example, here is my ds's writing at age 12 (a paragraph from a story). 

ORIGINAL: For three moons I wandered aimlessly through the wilderness living off of wild berries and the occasional deer then one day saw me once again tracking a boar when I stumbled upon a clearing the clearing was about a stone’s throw across the ground being made of packed earth with a light covering of leaves in the center there was an ancient beech tree of immense size gnarled with age leaning against it was a small hut made of wood and thatched with fern fronds by the door there sat a venerable dragonborn scales dulled by time he turned to me and spoke. 

I helped him to punctuate it as he had NO IDEA where a sentence was and could barely identify the verbs even after years of direct workbook grammar. 

WITH PUNCTUATION: For three moons I wandered aimlessly through the wilderness, living off of wild berries and the occasional deer. Then one day saw me once again tracking a boar when I stumbled upon a clearing. The clearing was about a stone’s throw across, the ground being made of packed earth with a light covering of leaves. In the center there was an ancient beech tree of immense size, gnarled with age. Leaning against it was a small hut made of wood, and thatched with fern fronds. By the door there sat a venerable dragonborn, scales dulled by time. He turned to me and spoke.

Edited by lewelma
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19 hours ago, maize said:

I agree with the NZ point of view 100%, as would most linguists. I applaud this approach to language!

Does this student read much? If so her intuitive sense for standard English may be quite good.

I never studied English grammar past very basic knowledge of nouns/verbs/adverbs/adjectives in elementary school. I did however read voraciously. My verbal SAT scores were excellent.

As a person with a background in linguistic anthropology I also agree with this approach.

Our story: my daughter did not have much grammar in school and actively hates it! She is also an excellent writer, and reads a ton - probably 300 pages a week for fun in addition to school reading. She scored a 790 on the reading/writing section of the SAT. In my experience, the intuitive sense for English that comes from a lot of reading is MUCH more valuable for a good SAT score than grammar study.

Edited by kirag714
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SAT Writing/Grammar section seems to be harder for kids than a reading section from what I can gather (a sample size of 10-15 kids). I am puzzled, because I find that section so much easier than reading. 

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And what I am noticing with my older boy is his thoughts are somehow ahead of his writing, so he has moved on in his brain while he is still working on writing the previous sentence. I am having a hard time explaining this, but the result is inability to pay attention to details. He just can’t be bothered somehow to focus on minute. I have no idea how to help him.  It’s not that he doesn’t know. He just doesn’t pay attention.

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4 minutes ago, Roadrunner said:

And what I am noticing with my older boy is his thoughts are somehow ahead of his writing, so he has moved on in his brain while he is still working on writing the previous sentence. I am having a hard time explaining this, but the result is inability to pay attention to details. He just can’t be bothered somehow to focus on minute. I have no idea how to help him.  It’s not that he doesn’t know. He just doesn’t pay attention.

Sounds like typing on forums.  🤣

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9 minutes ago, kirag714 said:

As a person with a background in linguistic anthropology I also agree with this approach.

Our story: my daughter did not have much grammar in school and actively hates it! She is also an excellent writer, and reads a ton - probably 300 pages a week for fun in addition to school reading. She scored a 790 on the reading/writing section of the SAT. In my experience, the intuitive sense for English that comes from a lot of reading is MUCH more valuable for a good SAT score than grammar study.

My older boy was this way. But my young boy was not (see above post). Obviously reading and language immersion work for some kids, but not for all.

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3 hours ago, RootAnn said:

This is true for some people but not all. It only works if you learn this way. I have the opposite experience. I read widely. Two of my older three kids read widely. None of us just naturally pick up proper grammar or spelling. All of us required specific teaching and repetitive practice to get it.

It is different than this, but I will use this example anyway. I worked for a month on solving Rubix cubes using a set algorithm. I did it hundreds of times. At the end of that time, I still needed to reference the algorithm. My DH used parts of the same algorithm a handful of times and had it memorized (and probably still does). I simply do not learn by immersion without specifically trying to understand, memorize, or learn something. Some people do; some don't.

 

I think to an extent everyone does learn from immersion, or spelling would just be impossible, no? A lot of common words people wind up spelling correctly. The question is more what fraction of the words you see make it into your brain, and I'm sure it depends on the person. 

I've never known the Rubik's cube algorithm, but I'm sure if I wanted to memorize it, I'd have to try. But it's possible your hubby automatically does the things that help him commit it to memory, like trying not to look at it until he gets really stuck, instead of using it without thinking about it. I've had to teach people in very varying fields things, and that's generally how it works: you have to move away from thoughtlessly following something to get it down. But how many times you have to repeat it and how often you'll have to refer back to the lesson certainly does depend.  

Edited by square_25
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Kids most certainly do not all learn the same way 🙂

My oldest two are natural spellers, I've never seen either of them make a spelling mistake. They've never studied spelling, just pick it up through reading. My third child is dyslexic and, while she can make a good guess at phonetic spelling, seems to lack the visual memory for a word that her older siblings have.

The older two kids are also very different from each other in writing skill. One picked up usage and mechanics also just through exposure--by the time she was six or seven she had near perfect punctuation including commas, semi colons, and even quotation marks without ever having been taught. She didn't know what they were all called but she knew how to use them. The other child...well, I can't even get him to stop mixing upper and lowercase letters within words, let alone punctuate properly. In spite of all the reading he does and in spite of handwriting and language arts programs.

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13 minutes ago, maize said:

 

The older two kids are also very different from each other in writing skill. One picked up usage and mechanics also just through exposure--by the time she was six or seven she had near perfect punctuation including commas, semi colons, and even quotation marks without ever having been taught. She didn't know what they were all called but she knew how to use them. The other child...well, I can't even get him to stop mixing upper and lowercase letters within words, let alone punctuate properly. In spite of all the reading he does and in spite of handwriting and language arts programs.

 

 

This makes me wonder to what extent “things” can be taught. Is it mostly nature? How much is nurture? I am just musing, not expecting an answer. 

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5 minutes ago, Roadrunner said:

 

This makes me wonder to what extent “things” can be taught. Is it mostly nature? How much is nurture? I am just musing, not expecting an answer. 

I work very closely with a lot of students over many years, and I have seen so many really weird things. Nature is huge. And I am straight up with kids and tell them that they have drawn the short straw and will have to do double the hours of their friends.  

Learning disabilities are a b****.

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I think both nature and nurture are limiting factors. For example, I know there are some kids who really won't be able to learn math. But I also know lots of talented kids who ought to be able to learn it but have not, and there the blame falls to nurture: the way they learned it wasn't conducive to absorbing the material. 

I also saw this with my daughter in kindergarten, actually: she's a fluent reader and a natural speller, but her spelling in kindergarten was atrocious, because the teacher refused to answer questions about correct spelling: the policy was that everyone was supposed to spell phonetically, which I imagine helped the children who were learning to read, and was completely counterproductive for my daughter, who'd been reading since 3.5 and who felt very frustrated looking at words that seemed wrong to her but she had no way to fix... 

I guess I think of teaching as picking ripe fruit: no point even trying if they are not ripe, but you still have to DO it if they are :-). 

Edited by square_25

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4 hours ago, square_25 said:

I think to an extent everyone does learn from immersion, or spelling would just be impossible, no? A lot of common words people wind up spelling correctly. The question is more what fraction of the words you see make it into your brain, and I'm sure it depends on the person. 

I've never known the Rubik's cube algorithm, but I'm sure if I wanted to memorize it, I'd have to try. But it's possible your hubby automatically does the things that help him commit it to memory, like trying not to look at it until he gets really stuck, instead of using it without thinking about it. I've had to teach people in very varying fields things, and that's generally how it works: you have to move away from thoughtlessly following something to get it down. But how many times you have to repeat it and how often you'll have to refer back to the lesson certainly does depend.  

I specifically have to memorize spellings. I do not internalize them otherwise. Eventually, my fingers have muscle memory for writing (less so for typing) them, but it takes thousands of repetitions. I cannot look at a word & know it is spelled correctly. (My mother & sister can. I take after my father.) Most, but not all, of my kids seem to be similar. As lewelma says below, they have drawn the short straw. Lewelma's example of the painstaking teaching of mechanics to her younger son is a good example of what we have to do here although none of my kids (except my oldest) has ever been officially diagnosed with a learning disorder. I believe most of us have low visual memories.

My DH absorbs information like a sponge & doesn't leak it out. He can learn just about anything once & do it perfectly (or almost perfectly) after that - even 30 years later. He doesn't have a photographic memory, but an ability that is just as useful.

3 hours ago, lewelma said:

I work very closely with a lot of students over many years, and I have seen so many really weird things. Nature is huge. And I am straight up with kids and tell them that they have drawn the short straw and will have to do double the hours of their friends.  

Learning disabilities are a b****.

I remember an old thread talking about working hard at something compared to being naturally good at it and how both are perceived. It was a contentious thread. These differences are not necessarily good or bad, just different. More time & effort to get the same (or less) results, but the kids can't help being the way they are naturally. I have an artistic child. She puts a lot of time in to be as good as she is, but there's definitely some natural talent that others don't have. I just want those who only see the natural talent people to know that not everyone shares their ability.

Lewelma - Thanks for letting us derail your thread. I hope whatever your tutoring student scores on her practice test gives you good information for moving forward.

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I love threads that go in interesting directions!

Quote

I remember an old thread talking about working hard at something compared to being naturally good at it and how both are perceived.

 

My older boy is amazing at violin. Only 12 music scholarships were offered for 2022's for all instruments, and he got one. However, this child was diagnosed at age 6 with an auditory processing disorder.  He had a major speech impediment at the time, which caused him to map half of the letters to the wrong sounds because he learned to read while mispronouncing most words. Talk about the worst spelling disaster ever!  But then there was the violin.  He could NOT process the sounds.  He could not play his notes in tune.  Every teacher pulled his hair out trying to get him to play in tune.  Scale after scale, ear training, tuning.  And it was just sheer persistence and struggle that allowed my ds to dig his way out of a serious lack of raw talent. When people hear him now, they just think that he was born with the skill.  And I will tell you, having listened to a dying cat that was his music for 10 years, he was NOT born with skill.  

Edited by lewelma
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@lewelma I know you don't want to get involved too much in the scholarship part of things, but I would push the mom to ask the recruiting agency for hard numbers and specific names of colleges and coaches, because there are some figures being tossed around that don't really add up, and I worry that this has been presented to you as "if you can just get her a 600 on the math SAT, she wins a $NZ300K scholarship!"

$NZ300K is approximately $US200K, which is a full ride (tuition, fees, room, board, books) at most public uni's and approximately full tuition at many privates. However, as 8 pointed out upthread, unless this kid is a soccer superstar, she is not going to be getting a large athletic scholarship, so she would need a very large academic scholarship for the combination to add up to $50K/yr. Just talking about an average public university, she'd need a $25K athletic scholarship plus another $25K academic scholarship — and she's not likely to get such a large academic scholarship with a mere 1200 SAT. 

The only significance of the "1200" figure is that is the minimum allowed by NCAA for academic scholarships at Division 1 schools to not "count" against the team's allowable scholarship total. In other words, if a Div 1 school tries to give an academic scholarship to an athlete with a GPA below 3.5, or an SAT score below 1200, then the NCAA basically considers that to be a disguised athletic scholarship and will deduct that amount from the team's athletic scholarship allowance — even if the academic scholarship is not paid for by the athletic department. So a 1200 doesn't "get" her a $50K annual scholarship, it just allows her to legally accept both academic and athletic money, when/if it is offered.

I think before this girl spends the next 10 months working her butt off trying to get a specific score on the SAT, she and her mom should insist that the recruiting agency provide them with firm figures on how much she can realistically expect to get, from which colleges and coaches, for both academics and athletics — and what kind of test scores she would actually need to get the level of academic aid she needs, not just meet NCAA minimums. For example, an OOS student with a 1200 SAT and 3.5 GPA would earn the following academic scholarships: $6K at Colorado State, $4K at Texas Tech, $12K at U Arizona (out of $32K OOS tuition), $1.5K at U Mississippi, $9K at UNLV — and a 1200 SAT is below the cut-off for any academic scholarships at many schools.  

I would also have the mom press the recruiter about why they will only accept the SAT, not the ACT, because that doesn't make any sense. NCAA accepts an ACT sum score (the 4 subscores added together) of 105 for Div 1 and 100 for Div 2, and I don't know of any US colleges that will only accept the SAT and not the ACT. One advantage of the ACT is that math only counts for 25% of the total score, versus 50% for the SAT, so that can be useful for students who may be weak in math.

 

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+1 and Kudos to Corraldno for her post to the OP.  Well written and lots of common sense in that.  It is better to play "Devils Advocate" and be realistic, than to see things through Rose Colored Glasses.  Better to be skeptical, when someone wants money up-front.  One cannot guarantee results. 

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@Corraleno That was a great and easily understandable explanation!!  I am suspect of the situation of Ruth's student. The whole "if it sounds to good to be true" sounds like it is ringing in the background.

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There is another thing that may be involved for the student in NZ and that is whether or not the school permits "Stacking" of scholarships and how that works. 

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I don’t know anything about soccer, but I know plenty of international kids who got full ride (tuition, board, and in one case even a small stipend) for tennis. They were girls. I remember being very surprised, but apparently this happens. 

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Roadrunner:  The boy I was told about, years ago, when DD was very young, was attending a school here that is accredited in the USA and also here in Colombia. He got a Full Ride. His sport is Golf.  I don't know if he is a U.S. Citizen or not. Probably not.  If not, he is an International student. 

Oh...  Also, when I was walking on the beach on Margarita Island, Venezuela, in 1991, I spoke with a young Venezuelan woman. She had gone to UMaryland on a Volleyball scholarship. At that time, I had no idea there were scholarships like that. I doubt very much that she is  a U.S. Citizen.

 

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My insurance agent has a son with a full-ride scholarship to play sport in the USA.  I will ask her what exactly it is.  

However, I'm really not interested in putting my unpaid time into this part of the puzzle. As far as I'm concerned, learning algebra will only help this student in any field she goes into.  She is considering Biology and Geography. 

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5 hours ago, Roadrunner said:

I don’t know anything about soccer, but I know plenty of international kids who got full ride (tuition, board, and in one case even a small stipend) for tennis. They were girls. I remember being very surprised, but apparently this happens. 

 

5 hours ago, Lanny said:

Oh...  Also, when I was walking on the beach on Margarita Island, Venezuela, in 1991, I spoke with a young Venezuelan woman. She had gone to UMaryland on a Volleyball scholarship. At that time, I had no idea there were scholarships like that. I doubt very much that she is  a U.S. Citizen.

Women's tennis and volleyball are "head count sports" in Division 1, meaning that all scholarships for athletes in those sports are full ride — you either get a full ride or you get nothing. Tennis also has an unusually high rate of international recruiting (almost 1/3rd of Div 1 tennis players are international students).

Soccer is a very different story. Not only are there very few international recruits in women's soccer (~5%), soccer is an "equivalency sport," meaning the team is allotted an amount of money that is "equivalent" to a certain number of full rides, but coaches are allowed to divide that money up however they want. The Div 1 allotment for women's soccer is the equivalent of 14 full rides (10 in Div 2; 12 in NAIA). So, for example, with a team of 28, the coach could give everyone a 50% scholarship, or give 14 people a full ride and the other 14 get nothing, or anything in between. Generally, there are full rides for the superstars, then the rest is split up into partial scholarships for other recruits. Unless the girl Lewelma is tutoring is a superstar, she is very unlikely to get a full ride scholarship in an equivalency sport. 

The recruiting agency seems to recognize that, hence they are requiring her to meet the minimum cutoff for combining academic scholarships with athletic ones. The problem is that while the recruiter seems to be counting on a combination of academic and athletic aid, he does not seem to be giving this girl a realistic target to hit in order to get significant enough academic aid.

Some of these "recruiting agencies" charge parents a LOT of money and make a lot of promises that they cannot fulfill. And in this case, the student in question is having to make major changes to her school schedule and spend a huge amount of time preparing for the SAT in the hope that a 600 math score is going to get her a full ride to an American university. For her sake, I hope she's a fantastic soccer player and scores 1500 on the SAT and her dream comes true. But I think the odds are very low that a kid who is a good but not great soccer player, who lives in a country where coaches cannot watch her play, and who gets a 1200 on the SAT, is going to get a full ride anywhere.

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5 hours ago, lewelma said:

My insurance agent has a son with a full-ride scholarship to play sport in the USA.  I will ask her what exactly it is.  

However, I'm really not interested in putting my unpaid time into this part of the puzzle. As far as I'm concerned, learning algebra will only help this student in any field she goes into.  She is considering Biology and Geography. 

 

Honestly, the thing that's most shocking here is that this bright student has never seen algebra. It doesn't even matter WHY her parents are willing to pay for her to learn algebra, she should learn some algebra! You can't do any science at all without algebra. 

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12 minutes ago, square_25 said:

 

Honestly, the thing that's most shocking here is that this bright student has never seen algebra. It doesn't even matter WHY her parents are willing to pay for her to learn algebra, she should learn some algebra! You can't do any science at all without algebra. 

Sounds like she has done quite a lot of statistics, which many American high school students see very little of and which is at least as important for science.

We shouldn't be shocked that different educational systems package and sequence things differently nor should we judge every other system by ours (which tends to be mediocre at best when compared to other developed countries).

I agree though that learning some algebra can only benefit her 🙂

Edited by maize
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4 minutes ago, maize said:

Sounds like she has done quite a lot of statistics, which many American high school students see very little of and which is at least as important for science.

We shouldn't be shocked that different educational systems package and sequence things differently nor should be judge every other system by ours (which tends to be mediocre at best when compared to other developed countries).

I agree though that learning some algebra can only benefit her 🙂

 

I mean, to really do statistics, you need algebra. You can only get so far without it. You even need integrals to fully understand the normal curve. And you need serious math to understand when certain statistical tests are applicable and when they are not (which is a big problem with people trying to use statistics without proper mathematical training.) 

I'd be all for a rigorous statistical training instead of delving deep into calculus (although I do like calculus.) But this doesn't sound like that. 

Edited by square_25
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25 minutes ago, square_25 said:

 

Honestly, the thing that's most shocking here is that this bright student has never seen algebra. It doesn't even matter WHY her parents are willing to pay for her to learn algebra, she should learn some algebra! You can't do any science at all without algebra. 

NZ has integrated math.  She had algebra in 8th, 9th, and 10th grade as about 25% of each course.  However, she could do well in the course by only passing algebra, but getting decent grades in geometry, statistics, and numeracy. However, she has now switched to Statistics in 11th and 12th grades where only very basic algebra is required for this mostly qualitative course. She has to be able to understand and interpret statistics, she does not need to be able to produce statistics except for 2 quantitative units (about 1/3rd of the class). She has had no need to review her algebra in 1.5 years, so believes she has forgotten it.  

In addition, I would argue that to keep a kid from university who cannot do algebra, is doing a number of students a great disservice.  All you have to do is read the learning challenges board to know that a number of kids have a lot to offer but have dyscalculia and will never get through algebra.  I have taught a student who got one of the top grades in all of New Zealand on a 12th grade english exam in 11th grade, but could not subtract 9-2. In addition, I would argue that algebra is not required for at least 50% of all careers.  I can name on one hand, the friends I have who use algebra every day (engineer, geophysicst, economist, IT systems analyst, and statistician).  My non-algebra using friends include: a lawyer, a law librarian, a GP, an interior designer, a professional declutterer, a TV producer, a hairdresser who owns her own store, a makeup artist, a builder, a forester, an artist, the associate concertmaster of the NZ symphony orchestra, a chef, a UN aid worker, a community organizer, a museum currator, an author, a valuer, an acupuncturist, a kindergarden teacher, a high school English teacher, a counselor, a minister.  I'm sure I could come up with more. The point is, you don't need algebra to do well in this world and to have decent jobs.  

Edited by lewelma
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6 minutes ago, lewelma said:

NZ has integrated math.  She had algebra in 8th, 9th, and 10th grade as about 25% of each course.  However, she could do well in the course by only passing algebra, but getting decent grades in geometry, statistics, and numeracy. However, she has now switched to Statistics where only very basic algebra is required for this mostly qualitative course. She has to be able to understand and interpret statistics, she does not need to be able to produce statistics except for 2 quantitative units (about 1/3rd of the class). She has had no need to review her algebra in 1.5 years, so believes she has forgotten it.  

In addition, I would argue that to keep a kid from university who cannot do algebra, is doing a number of students a great disservice.  All you have to do is read the learning challenges board to know that a number of kids have a lot to offer but have dyscalculia and will never get through algebra.  I have taught a student who got one of the top grades in the country on a 12th grade english exam in 11th grade, but could not subtract 9-2. In addition, I would argue that algebra is not required for at least 50% of all careers.  I can name on one hand, the friends I have who use algebra every day (engineer, geophysicst, economist, IT systems analyst, and statistician).  My non-algebra using friends include: a lawyer, a law librarian, a GP, an interior designer, a professional declutterer, a TV producer, a hairdresser who owns her own store, a makeup artist, a builder, a forester, a chef, a UN aid worker, a community organizer, a museum currator, an author, a valuer, an acupuncturist.  I'm sure I could come up with more. The point is, you don't need algebra to do well in this world and to have decent jobs.  

 

From my sample of calculus students, we in fact let in many, many students who don't know much algebra ;-). But I understand your point, and we could certainly argue about whether it's reasonable to require the SAT for every single student, or whether there should be another track. 

Regardless, I think it's doing her a disservice to have had her take math that doesn't require any algebra. 

I know most careers don't require algebra. Or much science. And most people learn math and science badly enough that they may have as well never learned it in the first place. I guess I'm OK with the former but I think the latter is a shame... 

Edited by square_25
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New Zealand has created a math course for kids who would otherwise drop math - it is a qualitative statistics course.  For the kid that could not subtract 9-2, she was able to read and interpret statistical reports and make insightful comments on how the data was collected, bias, population vs sample, sampling techniques, confidence intervals, faulty conclusions.  This is NOT an easy math class, but it is mostly qualitative.  Go take a look at the qualitative assessments (the exemplars are cropped, but have comments on how they would be graded).  I could also link you to the 2 quantitative assessments but they are more american in style.  Just because it is qualitative does NOT mean it is low level! Non mathy kids can make a bigger contribution to society if they master qualitative stats than if they just dabble at quantitative math and then just forget it all.

Time series:

https://www.nzqa.govt.nz/assets/qualifications-and-standards/qualifications/ncea/NCEA-subject-resources/Mathematics/91580/91580-EXP.pdf

Bivariate data including bootstrapping:

https://www.nzqa.govt.nz/assets/qualifications-and-standards/qualifications/ncea/NCEA-subject-resources/Mathematics/91582/91582-EXP.pdf

Path analysis

https://www.nzqa.govt.nz/assets/qualifications-and-standards/qualifications/ncea/NCEA-subject-resources/Mathematics/91576/91576-EXP.pdf

report analysis

https://www.nzqa.govt.nz/nqfdocs/ncea-resource/exams/2018/91584-exm-2018.pdf

associated resource booklet for report analysis

https://www.nzqa.govt.nz/nqfdocs/ncea-resource/exams/2018/91584-res-2018.pdf

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5 minutes ago, lewelma said:

New Zealand has created a math course for kids who would otherwise drop math - it is a qualitative statistics course.  For the kid that could not subtract 9-2, she was able to read and interpret statistical reports and make insightful comments on how the data was collected, bias, population vs sample, sampling techniques, confidence intervals, faulty conclusions.  This is NOT an easy math class, but it is mostly qualitative.  Go take a look at the qualitative assessments (the exemplars are cropped, but have comments on how they would be graded).  I could also link you to the 2 quantitative assessments but they are more american in style.  Just because it is qualitative does NOT mean it is low level! Non mathy kids can make a bigger contribution to society if they master qualitative stats than if they just dabble at quantitative math and then just forget it all.

Time series:

https://www.nzqa.govt.nz/assets/qualifications-and-standards/qualifications/ncea/NCEA-subject-resources/Mathematics/91580/91580-EXP.pdf

Bivariate data including bootstrapping:

https://www.nzqa.govt.nz/assets/qualifications-and-standards/qualifications/ncea/NCEA-subject-resources/Mathematics/91582/91582-EXP.pdf

Path analysis

https://www.nzqa.govt.nz/assets/qualifications-and-standards/qualifications/ncea/NCEA-subject-resources/Mathematics/91576/91576-EXP.pdf

report analysis

https://www.nzqa.govt.nz/nqfdocs/ncea-resource/exams/2018/91584-exm-2018.pdf

associated resource booklet for report analysis

https://www.nzqa.govt.nz/nqfdocs/ncea-resource/exams/2018/91584-res-2018.pdf

 

That's pretty cool! I like that they are forced to write in full sentences as well: frankly, our standard math curriculum would do well to adopt that kind of writing. 

This certainly seems better than dropping math for non-mathy kids. It also seems a lot better than the kind of understanding lots of kids wind up getting out of the later grades of math. It does seem a little like throwing the baby out with the bathwater, though: I think a "qualitative" course that also involves familiarity with algebraic reasoning is entirely possible, as well. I suppose it depends on how you define algebra, but I just think of algebra as "knowing what an equation is and that you can do the same thing to both sides of one" and that's something you can teach even to fairly non-mathy kids (although of course, not ones with serious dyscalculia.) 

Anyway, this is getting off-topic again, I apologize! Let us know how she does on the first practice SAT. I'm keeping my fingers and toes crossed :-). 

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Here are the two quantitative assessments in the mostly qualitative course.  They are hard!  I did get my dyscalculia student to pass both of them, because they don't require algebra to pass, but do require algebra to gain an excellence. 

probability

https://www.nzqa.govt.nz/nqfdocs/ncea-resource/exemplars/2017/91585-exp-2017-excellence.pdf

distributions

https://www.nzqa.govt.nz/nqfdocs/ncea-resource/exemplars/2017/91586-exp-2017-excellence.pdf

 

Edited by lewelma

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12 hours ago, Corraleno said:

Some of these "recruiting agencies" charge parents a LOT of money and make a lot of promises that they cannot fulfill. And in this case, the student in question is having to make major changes to her school schedule and spend a huge amount of time preparing for the SAT in the hope that a 600 math score is going to get her a full ride to an American university. For her sake, I hope she's a fantastic soccer player and scores 1500 on the SAT and her dream comes true. But I think the odds are very low that a kid who is a good but not great soccer player, who lives in a country where coaches cannot watch her play, and who gets a 1200 on the SAT, is going to get a full ride anywhere.

 

Thank you for everything you wrote, including the comments above!   Very interesting.

I told my DD about this thread. Here, we hear on the radio (when my wife has it on a certain local station) commercials for a local company that claims to help people get visas to live/work in other countries. Canada, Australia, possibly the USA also. When I hear them, I react, sadly, because obviously the company is making $ or would not be able to continue paying for radio commercials. But, I wonder, what percentage of their clients actually receive a visa that permits them to live and work in one of those countries. And, I wonder, if the client had applied, without using a company  like that, if they would have received the visa. The company is making money. Many of their clients are wasting their time and money. From what I understand after reading upthread, it is common, possibly even necessary, for those interested in an Athletic Scholarship, to use one of these agencies to "market" them to colleges and universities.

Whether or not the girl in question has the Academic stats and the Athletic Stats seems to be quite questionable.  

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