## Friday, February 3, 2023

### Fake News Friday: University gives same exam to all students

Pythagorean Theorem

To "privileged students": Derive the Pythagorean theorem from first principles. Make notes in the margins in period-correct Greek.

To students with only one-degree of intersectionality: Write a five-hundred (500) word essay titled "What color is the Pythagorean Theorem and how does that make me feel"

To students with more than one-degree of intersectionality: Circle one (1) shape in the picture shown below that is a triangle

1. So, give us a clue. Which shape did you circle?

2. There could be another group for this test: 'Using simple drawings, show how the Pythagorean Theory can be used when your surveyor's transit is broken but the crew is ready to start laying out the foundation'. As a retired engineer, there's gotta be somebody between the 'privileged' and '1-degree of' students... Of course, that question would be too real-world for most universities today.

1. In Arnold Horshak's voice, with hand waving frantically in the air..."Ohhh Ohhh Ohhh!"

3. Green and Purple are incorrect answers. They are "Right" triangles, which makes them abominations.

4. My guess is that you picked the color orange and you burned up 400 words talking about how degraded you felt when you worked two days as a waitress.

5. He drew a triangle in the margins.

6. I know it's satire but I'll toss in a more serious comment. :)

Standardized testing is unfortunately the best we can do ATM for testing students but it's very lacking. It doesn't necessarily test someone's understanding of the material and the relationships of values, but merely if the student can go through the motions and spit out facts in an obscenely short time. It's akin to someone with a great memory reciting a manual line by line and regurgitating canned responses for how a system works without understanding any of it. Such people can't adapt to new problems because they don't understand and merely parrot. The obscenely short amount of time given for taking tests doesn't help and people that otherwise understand the material thoroughly end up having their minds turn to mush due to the relentless march of time.

I, like too many others, were taught to do math by rote memorization (brute force) rather than understanding why something works and the principles it's based on. Later in life now, I'm "relearning" a lot of stuff but I'm probably actually learning it for the first time via self-teaching. There is still some memorization but it's no longer rote; rather I'm employing associative techniques and the memory palace. I often associate technical information to convenience, utility, and speed; as well as it's location on it's relevant position on a table.

IMHO, education in the USA needs to be scraped clean and rebuilt from the ground up, same with work / life balance, etc. Unfortunately that probably isn't going to happen so change must start at the individual level.

- Arc

- Arc

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