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The left tail of the distribution

[I’ve had this post in the wings for nearly two weeks; I’m dusting it off because end of April seems like a good time to wrap up talking about teaching, seeing as how I DON’T HAVE A TEACHING JOB ANYMORE.] Three times in my teaching career to date, I have assigned final grades of zero. All three of these students…

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Unqualified

In spite of…well, most of what I post here, I am confident that I have done a respectable job of working with my raw material (fundamentally uninteresting and inapplicable mathematics, students who should be in grade seven instead of university) this semester and last. When I emerged from a week-long isolation grading exams, I was able to step back and…

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Breaking news: British Columbians ill-informed about breaking news

On May 17, British Columbians go to the polls for a vote and a meta-vote: the vote, on the new provincial government; the meta-vote, on whether to reform the way that British Columbians choose their governments. Right now, BC’s government, like those of the other nine provinces and three territories, is a parliamentary system, with the province divided into 79 constituencies, each…

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Exam notes: quantitative

1.Number of pages of exams graded in the past six (6) days: 1344 For precalculus: 392 For calculus: 280 For statistics: 644 2.Average number of unclaimed tests/quizzes sitting in my office, per student, in Precalculus: 2.7 Statistics: 1.1 Calculus: 0.5 3.Number of students enrolled who didn’t show up for the final exam: 5 Of those, number who have dealt with…

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But in a way, everyone loses.

That was painful, but now it’s over and we never have to think of it again. In first place is Dr. Matt, with a whopping twenty squares. The squares he didn’t get, were largely for reasons such as “students all have fraction-doing calculators anyway and even if they can’t add them it’s possible that such a thing won’t come up”, and “I…

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Let the games begin.

I don’t know exactly what combination of amused and disturbed I should be at the knowledge that some of my readers are apparently marking their calendars with my students’ exam dates, but in any case, yes, it’s true, my precalculus students wrote their exams yesterday. And that means that I’ll be spending much of this weekend grading them. And that…

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‘What made a bunch of American conservatives sudden experts on Canadian politics?’

Rivka at Respectful of Otters says pretty much what I was thinking about the American bloggers who posted the details of the Gomery Inquiry that were banned from publication by Canada’s Orwellian, free-speech-hating, communist government. Except not really, because what I was thinking involved a lot more snark and swear words, and a lot less research and fewer links, so you should probably go…

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Ten inches

My graduate school had a pottery studio on campus. I joined the pottery club during the first year of my Master’s, but this was a full year before I’d completely lost my motivation to do schoolwork, so I spent little time in the studio. During my second year, the only course I was taking some ill-conceived algebraic geometry class whose…

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R.I.P. Mathematics Education

From the table of contents of a precalculus text – written by the same three folks who wrote the piece of shit I’m valiantly trying to teach from – that I’m using for supplementary examples: 1. Functions, Graphs, and Models….1 1.1 Using graphing utilities…2 Page 2! They really cut to the chase, don’t they? The good people at Texas Instruments, along with their…

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