Anyway, I eventually got over the cold from hell, although it took a really long time to get my hearing back. I passed my spring practicum, so I've met all of the requirements for Oregon licensure. I'm now waiting on one more transcript, and then I can send in my license application way past when I should have and hope that I get a job so my school district can have it expedited. (I am not particularly good with my organizational skills.) At some point in the future I want to write about the remarkable disparity in transcript costs among the various schools I've attended, but not tonight.
Tonight I mostly just want to complain about my "statistics" class. This is a 600-level "Education Leadership" class designed for people getting their doctorates in education, but in reality is populated almost exclusively by people from my master's program. This class is geared exclusively toward helping us read statistics and does not expect us to be able to do the computations ourselves.
Today, we discussed stem-and-leaf plots, the difference between a bar graph and a histogram, what kind of data can legitimately be displayed in a line graph, and what scatterplots with positive, negative, or no correlation look like. Tomorrow he may talk about box-and-whiskers plots, and will cover the difference between mean, median, and mode in more detail than he had time for today.
Having met the requirements for Oregon licensure in advanced mathematics, I am familiar with our state standards in this area. I would like to share with you some of those standards now.
- Fifth Grade: MA.05.SP.01 Compare two related sets of data using measures of center (mean, median, and mode) and spread (range).
- Fifth Grade: MA.05.SP.05 Represent and interpret data using tables, circle graphs, bar graphs, and line graphs or plots (first quadrant).
- Seventh Grade: MA.07.SP.09 Represent and interpret data using frequency distribution tables, box-and whisker-plots, stem-and-leaf plots, and single- and multiple- line graphs.
- CIM (10th grade): MA.CM.SP.08 Use matrices, histograms, scatter plots, stem-and-leaf plots, and box-and whisker-plots to interpret data.
To be fair, we are getting some new information, but some of it is still a really frustrating use of time in a 600 level class. (Our book is also possibly the most condescending thing in the universe and needs to have its exclamation points taken away when it is not talking about factorials.) I will be pretty annoyed if there are actually questions about the difference between mean, median, and mode tomorrow.
I've decided to treat this as a class wherein I may learn new applications to help me teach these concepts to middle schoolers. I am trying not to be an annoying shit to the professor since it's really not his fault that I'm bored, but I feel this horrible need to talk in class so he knows I'm paying attention. It's tough to strike a balance between "asking questions that show I'm paying attention" and "being a total asshole" since I've taught a lot of this material myself and the rest of it also tends to be review for me since I took an undergraduate quantitative methods class (for my communication major, no less). I know most of the class aren't math people, though, and they haven't seen this stuff in a long time.
I'm just tired of how little math most people seem to have learned or retained in the process of getting their bachelor's degrees. Almost everyone in this class is 3 classes or less away from a master's degree, and a lot of what we're doing is in the middle school standards.
I guess we can add "anything to do with statistics" to the list of Things That Many Students Never Really Learned No Matter How Many Math Classes They Sat Through along with fractions, order of operations, how to expand (x + y)^2, how to use a protractor, and how to use approximations (and, if available, real-world knowledge related to a word problem) to see if an answer makes any sense.