Lion of the Blogosphere

Easy Common Core math test

I got a perfect score on the five questions from the 8th grade math test in the NY Times.

Question #4 was the hardest because I didn’t remember the formula for the volume of a cone, but I was able to deduce the correct answer.

I did use a calculator, but I think that children are allowed to use calculators on this test.

This test should be even easier for actual 8th graders who have presumably been prepping with these exact types of algebra/geometry questions as part of their coursework and should have the formula for the volume of a cone freshly memorized. It’s shameful that only 22% of children passed the test. They must have low IQs.

Also, I don’t understand the Republican hatred for Common Core. It makes sense that the type of math that children learn should be standardized across the United States. For example, I don’t see how being able to determine the volume of a cone would be relevant in one state but not relevant in another state.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

August 28, 2015 at 10:09 AM

Posted in Education

59 Responses

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  1. Republicans dislike national education standards because the know they are the side that has more kids, and national standards for education reduce the fight to indoctrinate all the kids to a single fight. It’s much easier to win that fight in a county mostly populated by conservative parents and with good schools than in a congressional committee populated by mostly urban districts (ie elected by singles).


    August 28, 2015 at 10:47 AM

  2. I was an early supporter of the Fordham campaign for standards, but the states’ implementations leave room for a lot of progressive social engineering.

    Mrs Stitch

    August 28, 2015 at 11:00 AM

    • Now I think that there really are deep regional and racial differences, and we’re just wreaking havoc trying to get districts in lower Alabama or Blackbelt Ga on the same page with academics. Back before deseg, a black guy could go to an HBC, become a lawyer or doctor, and cater to black clients just fine. Built-in clientele.

      Mrs Stitch

      August 28, 2015 at 5:48 PM

  3. It’s a genetic lottery.


    August 28, 2015 at 11:55 AM

  4. The standards are way too difficult. The average kid doesn’t learn algebra until 9th grade and geometry until 10th grade. Even high IQ kids would have trouble with the third and fourth questions if they haven’t taken geometry yet.

    Common Core is based on the blank-slatist denial of IQ, they think that they can make every child as smart as the top 20% of children. And when the inevitable failure occurs it will be an excuse for more liberal nonsense about “underfunded schools” and “conservative” nonsense about “education reform.”

    But the worst part of it is what it holds for tracking. If you expect all kids to taught the same material as the top students, algebra and even geometry in middle school, then that can be an excuse to get rid of separate classes for the top students.

    Unfortunately, what I just wrote is too politically incorrect to say publicly, so Republicans have to make it about “local control” and the like.(Sound familiar?)

    See educationrealist:


    August 28, 2015 at 12:32 PM

    • “The standards are way too difficult” This is my impression too. A page from the standards:

      There is no way in hell this is going to be material “common” to all high school students. People are dreaming.

      August 28, 2015 at 10:35 PM

  5. the education ‘crisis’ in this country is overblown – When I apply to jobs, there is an average of 200-300 well qualified applicants with the same background and education.

    When underemployment rates are as high as they are, that should tell you everything about if we have an education crisis. It seems to me that we do fine in educating the masses, considering if we did even better, there would just be more underemployment.


    August 28, 2015 at 12:38 PM

    • There is no “labor shortage” in any field, in any part of this country.


      August 28, 2015 at 9:02 PM

  6. “They must have low IQs.”

    Probably. The most direct cause is probably that they don’t understand algebra.


    August 28, 2015 at 12:45 PM

  7. “Jenny wants to rent a truck for one day.” Of course it’s Jenny, not James.

    Even this 8th grade level math is way, way, way beyond the capabilities of low IQ NAMs, thousands more of whom have been flooding into New York City schools. But of course mentioning this is the biggest crime one could commit. All children are special snowflakes and equally capable!

    Education reform will never, ever work until the realities of human differences are acknowledged and educational policy crafted around those realities. And more fun for New Yorkers:

    “DOE officials have declined to give out exact numbers of recently enrolled illegal alien children or the costs to the taxpayers. Based on last year’s spending, NYC spent $20,749 per student which would bring the total for the migrant kids to $48.7 million. This does not include state mandated English-language instruction, free or reduced-price lunch, and the medical and dental coverage that many of these illegal alien minors will also receive.”

    Good times! And that horrible racist Donald Trump wants to stop all those dreams!


    August 28, 2015 at 12:53 PM

    • Those dreamers are living the dream.

      PS. Jenny was formerly known as James. I can’t believe they left that out.


      August 29, 2015 at 2:43 AM

  8. Math common core is logical and thus results oriented, but the social sciences curriculum often indoctrinates the masses on things that are opinions. For example, here is a link to a Harvard study about left-leaning lawyers.


    August 28, 2015 at 1:33 PM

    • The longest and greatest post-Constitutional battle during the first 70 years under the 1787 constitution involved the power of the states versus the power of the central government. For most of that time the state’s rights faction was predominant. Now state’s rights is described, if at all, as nothing more than an excuse for perpetuating slavery. That’s the kind of indoctrination common core or any kind of centralized government directed story telling will get you.


      August 29, 2015 at 4:00 PM

  9. I too received a perfect score but I did the math by hand. Doing math the long way is pleasing to me and makes me feel mildly superior.

    I made an error in calculation on the final item but the multiple choice answers helped me figure out my mistake.

    If they got ride of the multiple choice and you had to show your work and write in the answer, that would make it a true test of knowledge.

    Republicans hate common core because they want to protect their breeding grounds from the left. They understand that education is dominated by liberals, that if they are allowed to dictate a standard to the nation, they will exert undue influence and spread liberalism to their children.

    In actuality, it would benefit the nation to have a standard everyone had to meet to graduate middle school and high school. That way, if one had a HS diploma, that person would be understood to have a grasp of basic math, science and reading/writing.


    August 28, 2015 at 1:48 PM

    • The trajectory will probably be something like this: Common Core starts out as very ambitious (i.e., too difficult). After a period of embarrassing failure, there will be disparate impact lawsuits and the whole thing gets quietly renormed into irrelevancy, like the fire department test but with less resistance. Since it’s a national standard, everyone still has to do it.


      August 29, 2015 at 2:52 AM

  10. Nobody was allowed to know what common core really was or is. And the way teachers were implementing it based on their assumptions of what Common Core was supposed to be really sank the program.

    Most people can answer the question “What is two plus two?” But when you then demand “show your work,” most are stumped. There is no “work” to show!

    To improve math education, ban the showing of work. If kids can get the answer by magic, more power to them.


    August 28, 2015 at 1:48 PM

    • Showing work always annoyed me. I understand now that it was intended to be a pedagogical tool to help the teachers assess where students were making mistakes in their thought processes. That’s understandable. At the time though, it contributed to making me stop paying attention in school, since I unconsciously recognized that it was a requirement that harmed, rather than benefited the smarter students.

      Anonymous Bro

      August 28, 2015 at 9:30 PM

    • Something like this?

      Define x’ as the successor of x in peano arithmetic, axiomatized as:

      (a) x+0 = x
      (b) x+y=y+x
      (c) x+y’ = x’+y

      Recall that 2 is written as 0” and 4 as 0””. We apply axiom (c) twice, followed by axiom (a).

      2+2 = 0” + 0” = 0”’ + 0′ = 0”” + 0 = 0”” = 4


      Extra credit: Choose an appropriate construction of the real numbers and show that 2+2=4 in this system.


      August 29, 2015 at 3:08 AM

      • Construction from surreal numbers

        “Every ordered field can be embedded in the surreal numbers. The real numbers form a maximal subfield that is Archimedean (meaning that no real number is infinitely large). This embedding is not unique, though it can be chosen in a canonical way.”

        Showing that 2+2=4 is left as an exercise for the instructor.


        August 29, 2015 at 4:32 PM

    • You can show 2 + 2 by using figures instead of numbers, like they used to teach you back in the day.

      X X + X X = XXXX

      Then you count ’em up.

      Showing work also makes cheating more difficult. It’s easy enough to glance across the aisle and see that Li Ping put down “72” for the answer, and then for Jamal to write “72” on his paper. It’s harder to copy all the work.

      By the way, speaking of education and stuff, check out this photo of recent summer interns for a California technology company. These are interns in America.


      August 29, 2015 at 10:52 AM

      • Let’s play guess the ethnicity:

        Left to right, the first girl looks Chinese or Hmong; the next guy Lebanese or Semitic of some sort; then a Sikh; Japanese; Korean; southern European or from India; forty year old White guy; sixty year old guy from India; Korean or possibly Chinese; two girls from India.


        August 29, 2015 at 9:50 PM

  11. The two last questions should be easy to answer just by looking at the numbers and estimating. The cylinder one for instance, I don’t know the volume of a cylinder even though I studied math, but you can estimate it just by knowing it would have to be significantly less than the volume of a similar cone but a good bit more than just the area of the base. Last question is also easy to just estimate with rough numbers because the answers are all so different from each other. Which I suppose would be the point — actually those last two questions would make more sense if you couldn’t use a calculator on this portion of the test.

    Anyway yeah I got them all easily, but then it would be pretty bad if I hadn’t.


    August 28, 2015 at 2:00 PM

  12. As for the common core the problem is less with the idea of a standard curriculum but more with how stupidly bureaucratically districts enforce the standards. It’s unbelievable how much time and effort is wasted making sure teachers write out the “right way” on their official lesson plans how the plans adhere to the common core. It truly boggles the mind the pointless shit that goes on in schools. Common core seems to be a big vehicle with which to bring in a lot of annoying bureaucratic procedures and over-paid paper pushers to “manage” it all.


    August 28, 2015 at 2:05 PM

  13. ” I don’t understand the Republican hatred for Common Core”

    It’s very simple and I am speaking from experience. Rural America votes Republican, and people in rural America are dumb. It’s a hard but true fact.

    gold eagles, 30-06 shells, and SPAM are the currency of tomorrow!

    August 28, 2015 at 4:04 PM

    • – There are obviously some very smart people in the vast continental US, but what I mean is in the main, they are very dumb.

      gold eagles, 30-06 shells, and SPAM are the currency of tomorrow!

      August 28, 2015 at 4:05 PM

      • People in general are dumb (50%+ below IQ 100) or dumberer (if you look abroad).


        August 29, 2015 at 3:13 AM

    • So, only dumb people dislike Common Core? Must be the same people who use phrases like “true fact”.


      August 28, 2015 at 11:48 PM

      • “True fact” is an inherently true statement.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        August 29, 2015 at 9:59 AM

      • That implies there is such a thing as a “false fact”.


        August 29, 2015 at 4:36 PM

  14. The cone problem is kinda silly. Not one in 10,000 8th graders could solve it without the formula (by integrating the changing area of the circle over the 2.9 inches), so if they memorized it they got it, if not, they didn’t. I scored 800 Math SAT, received the plaque for Recognition in Mathematics out of the 8th grade class of 300 people, and have degrees in math and physics, and I seriously doubt I could have gotten it in 8th grade, other than maybe calculating the volume of a cylinder with like dimensions and figuring the cone was a little less than half the volume of the cylinder by common sense, then picking the closest of the 4 choices. So what are they testing? Dumb. But of course I am a curmudgeon.

    Copperhead Joe

    August 28, 2015 at 4:18 PM

    • Agreed. I took Algebra I in 8th grade and Geometry in 9th grade on the accelerated track at my high school so neither my 8th grade self, nor, to a close approximation, any of the 8th graders in the state at the time, could have solved the geometry problems.

      Jokah Macpherson

      August 29, 2015 at 12:15 PM

  15. I got 4/5 because I thought the variable for volume of a cone was 2/3 instead of 1/3.

    Common core has nothing to do with why students fail, I think. Mostly HBD reasons.

    Anyone of moderate intellect (probably 110 or 115 IQ) can memorize the few simple geometry and algebra rules to get by on the test.

    I’m pretty sure I’ve never used anything more than basic algebra in my life to get anything done (I am not an engineer).

    I do find it difficult to do tipping arithmetic when the check comes and my friends have laughed at me for writing the math out on the check. It hasn’t stopped me from getting into a good career track, jokes on them.


    August 28, 2015 at 5:54 PM

  16. The answer to #1 can be easily obtained by calling these two truck rental companies and telling them how many miles you plan to drive. The answers to #2-5 are not needed in real lives of 99.8% people. Cones? Round pools? How often do you see cones around? Who has round pools?


    August 28, 2015 at 6:26 PM

  17. “I don’t see how being able to determine the volume of a cone would be relevant in one state but not relevant in another state.”

    Every state teaches kids how to determine the volume of a cone correctly even without common core. It’s not whether the kids should learn it, it’s the method of how it’s taught. If you delve into it, there are lots of parents with advanced math degrees who complain about the confusing way that common core teaches math. Whether those criticisms are correct is beyond my ken, but this test doesn’t really prove anything either way.


    August 28, 2015 at 7:05 PM

  18. Common Core isn’t about education. Its about closing the gap between White kids and minorities. The egalitarian fantasy has already wasted Trillions on retards to send them to moar school. Gifted programs are already being eliminated so retards can spend more time and resources trying the patience of teachers. Socialism is a total scam. Minority education is a bottomless money pit. These retards are never going to be rocket scientists. This is a cash cow where every time these retards fail, the socialists claim its not enough money. How much do you need to teach calculus to monkeys? 777 Trillion Dollars? Richie Rich’s entire inheritance? Scrooge McDuck’s Money Bin? Common Core is gibberish and drivel. Even Ph.Ds can’t answer some of the fool questions on these tests. But when bright kids fail like the minority morons, it must be the funding right? Wink wink, nudge nudge say no more…

    Joshua Sinistar

    August 28, 2015 at 7:16 PM

  19. meritocracy means objective uniform tests. what else could it mean in a non-pejorative sense? or is it just another political slogan?

    yet it happens all the time in the us that the highest test scorers aren’t at the top of the list of…whatever.

    subjective and idiosyncratic “grading” is necessarily biased. but this is a feature and not a bug of the country with the most rigid class system in the developed world, the us.

    purely objective means of preferment, promotion, hiring, admissions, etc. are threatening to the current elite who themselves are mostly the children of mid-century strivers. it seems the lords had its place. today the elite hold the mutually contradictory positions of: we’re here by our merits, but any who would replace us, however excellent must have no ladder.

    social stratification is path dependent.

    of course, obviously, all this would never have been a problem if the south had been let go at sumter.


    August 28, 2015 at 7:44 PM

  20. Lion, OT, but two Catherine Rampell items for you:

    – She weighs in on the immigration issue with a column, “America has always been hostile to immigrants” –

    – In this tweet, she wonders why median rents in NYC have gone up so much this century, even though median incomes have dropped:

    Since 2000, median apartment rent in NYC has increased 75% while median real income has dropped by nearly 5% (How?)— Catherine Rampell (@crampell) August 28, 2015


    Dave Pinsen

    August 28, 2015 at 7:47 PM

  21. race isn’t the only problem. how does the rest of the anglo-sphere fare? poorly.

    when labor and genuine production isn’t valued, neither is education.

    germany exports as much as the us with absolutely ZERO natural resources and 1/4 the population.

    thatcherism, libertarianism, etc. should be called what they are, satanism.


    August 28, 2015 at 7:58 PM

    • “thatcherism, libertarianism, etc. should be called what they are, satanism.”

      Neo-liberal economics and Progressive social policy are two sides of the same blade, and that blade is wielded by our ruling elites to cut us down. Because they are, as you say, Satanic, they’ve managed to position one of these under the Red/Republican banner and the other under the Blue/Democrat banner, ensuring that the populace is always at each other’s throats and too distracted to notice their common enemy. Plus, no matter what party is most influencing policy, the elites are always winning some battles at any given time.

      The only candidate in living memory overtly upending this scheme is the great Donald Trump.


      August 29, 2015 at 10:59 AM

  22. Common Core is like ObamaCare. It purports solve a problem that doesn’t exist. Most Americans were happy with their healthcare but the system was revamped for the 10-20% that didn’t have access.

    Most American schools in suburban and middle class areas are fine. Students do well on exams and communities genuinely like their schools. The problem is again urban school and rural schools filled with underachieving NAMS. No reason to impose Common Core on the whole nation just for a dysfunctional schools that make up a minority of the total schools.

    I can think of 3 reasons to oppose it:

    1) Common core is not going to make NAMS suddenly do better in school. Schools that are already doing well don’t need Common Core.

    2) Communities should be able to design their own curriculum. Not all syllabi have to be identical. There are many ways to achieve a good education. Families should be able to choose different systems from among different schools.

    3) Common Core will endlessly be manipulated by the Dept of Education which will be staffed by leftists even under GOP presidents. The latest leftwing education ideas will be imposed on whole nation not just NYC and California.


    August 28, 2015 at 10:16 PM

    • The problem with Common Core will be same as the problem with No Child Left Behind and every other education program that has ever been tried. All fail because they produce the dreaded Gap.

      Someone with a microphone will speak the truth eventual, that the Gap is simply a cosmological constant, and then we will be able to stick with whatever education iteration we are on at that time.


      August 29, 2015 at 2:56 PM

  23. International students wouldn’t be able to do the last question because they don’t now there are 12 inches in a foot. Seriously. I’m in Canada and find that a lot of young people don’t know this.


    August 29, 2015 at 1:38 AM

    • It is entirely possible that the world will eventually come around to using feet and inches, considering that the US successfully inflicts its culture on everyone else in so many other realms.


      August 29, 2015 at 2:59 PM

    • What happens if you type ‘how tall is Barack Obama’ into Google from Canada? Here in the US, it gives the English system answer for the height of any world figure, feet and inches.


      August 29, 2015 at 3:05 PM

    • Why is that? Like many kids in Russia, I grew up reading American and English literature. I was literally living in world of Walter Scott, Robert Stevenson, Conan Doyle, Mayne Reid, Fenimore Cooper, Jack London and O’Henry. Always knew the British system of measurement and money. Our boxing gloves were sized in ounces. 10 ounces was for competition and heavier – up to 16 ounces for training. This Russian artillery piece is called a ‘three inch cannon’ (трехдюймовка), and has a three inch caliber like it’s name says.

      I love the British system – it has history and character. How do you say ‘a pound of flesh’ in metric? Half a kilo? America should make no compromise on this issue not even on coke bottles. If we give them an inch, they will want a mile.


      August 29, 2015 at 9:00 PM

      • A lot of young kids just out of high school haven’t done a lot of reading, I guess. Certainly students from China generally know nothing about feet and inches. When I was teaching a statistics class I asked each student to write down their height and most wrote it in cm. Then didn’t seem to know what their own height was in feet and inches. I’m old and of course learned non-metric measurements when I was young, since Canada hadn’t converted to metric yet then. Trudeau did it because he hated the Britishness of Canada and wanted to destroy it.


        August 30, 2015 at 1:03 AM

      • For the life of me I can’t understand why Canadians went alone with it. They should have rioted on the streets, burned public transportation and stormed the parliament.


        August 30, 2015 at 11:27 AM

      • The Liberal party also did away with our beautiful and historic red ensign flag with the union jack in the corner, and replaced it with the ugly thing we have now, to appease the French in Quebec.


        August 30, 2015 at 1:32 PM

      • Quebec is the best province of Canuckistan. The Anglophone nooks, including the prairie cities are northerly American cities, with a trajectory of high income inequality in the coming years, reminiscent of what you find here, in Merirpolestan. Although I have to say, Canada is still a nice place overall, comparing to the zoo, south of it.


        August 30, 2015 at 4:05 PM

  24. Just looked at the stats. A bit less than 1/2 of the kids in NY public schools are black or Hispanic. Therefore, even among whites and Asians the pass rate is well under half.


    August 29, 2015 at 12:45 PM

    • IIRC the pass rate ranges 40-60% for whites and asians in NYS, both for math and ELA. And only about 10% of students overall get a 4 (the highest score).

      There are a handful of NYC charter schools where blacks score on par with asians on these tests (60%+ proficiency). In some cases the math proficiency is close to 100%. So either these students are heavily cherry picked, or the results are invalid (i.e. cheating).

      slithy toves

      August 29, 2015 at 3:41 PM

      • Math, especially lower grade math which is just memorizing multiplication tables, is much easier to train into people with lower IQs. But even at higher levels of math, there was that calculus teacher who was able to get kids at a minority high school to pass the AP Calculus test. (Of course, this was not a particularly useful thing to do if the kids lack the IQ to use calculus in engineering or other disciplines such as advanced economics or statistics.)

        Reading comprehension is the most highly g-loaded academic skill and the one where the Gap has never been successfully bridged.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        August 29, 2015 at 4:15 PM

      • Of course, this was not a particularly useful thing to do if the kids lack the IQ to use calculus

        Escalante’s students went on to become college superstars. There’s a lot of convergent evidence that what Escalante did worked: Bryan Bowen, a doctoral student in education from Azusa Pacific University, applied a rigorous analysis to a group of 2,386 Escalante students. The research compared these students to their 7th and 8th grade counterparts in the Garvey School District. Bowen (who himself taught math in high school) teased out the differences between participants and non-participants enrolled in pre-Algebra and Algebra classes over a two-year period.

        Reading comprehension is the most highly g-loaded academic skill and the one where the Gap has never been successfully bridged.

        But they’re Bermudian…that 640 miles between them and the US must somehow make their blacks categorically different.

        I’d also point to who is represented on the 20th century Great American Novels but then you’d respond that whatever is g-loaded about reading and writing is what makes for prole bestsellers.


        August 30, 2015 at 6:05 PM

  25. The problem with the CC standards is that they’re ridiculously hard.

    Many of the problems with American education policy are down to the fact that the people making the decisions from on high have never read The Bell Curve and have no medium to long term experience in teaching.


    August 29, 2015 at 8:28 PM

  26. Multiple guess testing is stupid and humiliating. First time I was subject to it I couldn’t beleive it was for real. In the USSR you had to give the answer, not guess it. Also, Geometry was taught twice a week from 6 to 8 grade and the conic formula was covered. Students that failed went to trade school, which is the way it should be.


    August 29, 2015 at 9:07 PM

    • The Soviet math curriculum appears to have been accelerated relative to the American one. Geometry was taught in 9th grade at the school I attended, and only the honors classes required students to write proofs. That was more than 20 years ago, and it wouldn’t surprise me if the curriculum has been dumbed down since then.


      August 30, 2015 at 1:40 PM

  27. How come nobody Googled it? I can understand that Lion is trolling, but what about everyone else?


    August 29, 2015 at 9:45 PM

  28. In the USSR we were taught math by proving theorems and solving problems. I don’t think there is a better way. I went to an elite school, though. The bums from my hood were going to trade schools from the age of 14. I must say that in a suburban American public high school that I had attended the education was pretty good. No real problems, but no blacks either. Good teachers and principals who realy worked with you. My Russian school had better math and science, the American had better literature and gym, but both were good.


    August 30, 2015 at 12:33 AM

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