Tuesday, June 16, 2015

in support of tests

Chana has been studying for the NYS common core algebra regents.  There is more to study but the test is tomorrow.  I think that the experience of studying has been valuable.  Learning to understand what the questions are asking and learning how to do the questions and doing them over and over until she began to get those types of questions correct has definitely sharpened Chana's algebraic skills.  It has infuriated her to the point of declaring hatred of math and to the point where she has refused to look at math for another year.  It has also gotten her thinking about math.  She finds herself thinking about math problems at odd moments.  She said, "Annoyingly, I'm beginning to see the world mathematically.  I just looked at something and thought: 'That's a parabola.'  Aargh!"

If we had time to study more Chana's skills would probably improve even further.  I think even at this point she is ready to go on to algebra 2 and would be fine.  She might need reminders of how to do things, but conceptually she understands the prerequisite algebra and can perform the mechanics.  If she had drilled even more, it might become more automatic.

I was in a lot of conflict when Chana was experiencing a lot of pain and stress trying to learn how to take the test.  I wasn't sure if it was a good idea to stick it out and see it through.  After having sat three times for 3 hours and practiced the 3 existing tests, I think Chana will hopefully not be too stressed taking it.  I still think that Chana will get stuck on some of the long questions even though with some prompting and hand holding she would know how to do it.  But there is no hand holding in the test.  Will the test be an accurate reflection of her mathematical knowledge?  In some ways yes and in some ways no.

We are fortunate to have the luxury of the test being optional and of it not having any major impact on her life.  After this, I'm going to give her a long break.  Even though I'm kind of excited to share algebra 2 with her.  If I can ever convince her to try it.

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