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  • 1. College Students Nightmare Fear of Numbers How Can Educators Help Overcome the Fear? Session 5.4 January 10, 2014 Presentation at the AFACCT 24th Annual Conference Prince Georges Community College Largo, MD By Prof. S. Sengamalay MPA (Harvard), CPA (USA), FCMA (UK), FCIS (UK & Canada), FCA (Sri Lanka) 1

2. Why the Worry Over Numbers? Some Recent (Familiar) Press Quotes 1. Study: U.S. Trails Asian Countries in Math and Science Despite notable progress in mathematics, the United States has failed to raise student achievement in science over the past decade while Singapore and several other Asian countries continue to score higher in both subjects, according to a study released this week that compares math and science test scores of students from dozens of countries. Americas uneven performance in the latest Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) immediately drew responses from policymakers and educators who are worried about how well the United States is preparing students for the global economy. Source: US News and World Report (12/09/2008) 2 3. Why the Worry Over Numbers? Some Recent (Familiar) Press Quotes (Contd.) 2. U.S. Teens Lag as China Soars on International Test - Fifteen-year olds in the U.S. ranked 25th among peers from 34 countries on a math test scored in the middle in science and reading, while Chinas Shanghai topped the charts, raising concern that the U.S. isnt prepared to succeed in the global economy. Source: Bloomberg.com (12/07/2010) 3 4. Why the Worry Over Numbers? Some Recent (Familiar) Press Quotes (Contd.) 3. U.S. Students Still Lag Globally in Math and Science, Tests Show Fourth and eighth-grade students in the United States continue to lag behind students in several East Asian countries and some European nations in math and science, although American fourth graders are closer to the top performers in reading, according to test results released. Source: New York Times (12/11/2012) 4 5. Why the Worry Over Numbers? Some Recent (Familiar) Press Quotes (Contd.) 4. Poor student readiness for college, new standards trouble Pr. Georges Only half of students who graduate from Prince Georges countys public high schools in June 2012 enrolled in college, and 90 percent of the graduates in community college are taking remedial classes in math and reading, according to data shared with the countys Board of Education on Thursday during a presentation on student achievement, secondary-school changes and the new academic standards. A. Duane Arbogast, Chief Academic Officer Source: The Washington Post (Metro Section), Article by Ovetta Wiggins (10/12/2013) 5 6. In Montgomery, Still no Solution for Math Woes MC Officials plan to survey students taking high school final exams in math next week about how they think about and prepare for the biggest test of the semester MC School officials say they still have no clear answers for why a majority of 30,000 high school students in the high-performing district failed their finals in key math courses last year Inadequate Preparation among possible causes cited for failed final tests Some parents and educators suggest the problem might be students have been advanced too quickly in math courses or they lack academic support.Source: News item in Metro Section of the Washington Post on 01/05/2014 By Donna St. George 6 7. The Tale of Woe Continues Headline - In Global exam, U.S. teens scores remain stagnant. Teens in Asian nations score high in math, science and reading While U.S. teenagers were average in reading and science, their scores were well below average in math, compared to 64 other countries and economies that participated in the 2012 Program for International Student Assessment or PISA. That pattern has not changed much since the PISA was first given in 2000. Source: Washington Post, Page A4, December 4, 2013. News item by Lyndsey Layton 7 8. New Numbers in Old Debate in Education Students in 36 U.S. States better than average in math, science on international test Lowest scoring state in math Alabama; highest Massachusetts But top U.S. students lagged behind S. Korea, Singapore and Taiwan Only 19% of Bay State (MA) rated advanced vs. 50% of 8th graders in Taiwan, S. Korea and Singapore Report gives new fuel to policymakers arguing for over 30 years that U.S. has stalled in educational attainment Source: Washington Post Study released by the Federal Government (10/24/2013) 8 9. How About U.S. Adults? Study Finds U.S. adults lag behind most countries in math, reading and digital skillsPolicymakers and politicians who wring their hands about the mediocre performance of U.S. students on international math and reading tests have another worry: The nations grown-ups arent doing much better. Americans are decidedly weaker in Numeracy and problemsolving skills than in literacy Source: Washington Post news item by Lyndsey Layton on10/08/2013 quoting from OECD and U.S. Education Department Surveys. 9 10. 10 11. 11 12. What is Numeracy ? Number Sense and Mental Computation (1) Numeracy is defined as the ability to reason and to apply simple numerical concepts. Basic numeracy skills consist of comprehending fundamental mathematics like addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. For example, if one can understand simple mathematical equations such as, 2 + 2 = 4, then one would be considered possessing at least basic numeric knowledge. Source: Wikipedia 12 13. What is Numeracy ? Number Sense and Mental Computation (2) Substantial aspects of numeracy also include number sense, operation sense, computation, measurement, geometry, proba bility and statistics. A numerically literate person can manage and respond to the mathematical demands of life. By contrast, the lack of numeracy or innumeracy can have a negative impact if the skills are absent. Numeracy has an influence on career professions, literacy, and risk perception towards health decisions. Source: Wikipedia13 14. Numbers, What Are They? A number is a mathematical object used to count, label and measure.14 15. Numbers - Origin The abacus, a counting frame, was in use centuries before the adoption of the written modern numeral system and is still widely used by merchants, traders and clerks in Asia, Africa and elsewhere.Source: Wikipedia 15 16. Plus Education Catch them Young !! Never too Young16 17. Classroom Size Abacus for Head-Start !!17 18. 3 Year-Old Kids Can Grasp Some Math Concepts Children as young as 3 can understand the meaning and value of multi-digit numbers and might be ready for direct math instruction when they begin formal schooling than previously believed (New Research Study by Developmental Psychologists)Contrary to the view that children do not understand place value and multi-digit numbers, we found that they actually know quite a lot about it. (Kelly Mix, Professor of Educational psychology at Michigan State University and lead investigator on the Study) Source: Lyndsey Layton, Washington Post, December18, 201318 19. Mad Scientist Goes Back to Basics !!!19 20. Millennial (Generation) Missing Basic Ingredients Growing up without simple Educational Toys Creative Gadgets take human initiative away Dependence on machines Disconnect between answer and intelligence Disparaging those good with numbers -Nerds Expecting Quick Results sans Needed Effort Literate, but lack Numerical or Financial Literacy20 21. (Relative) Quality of Community College Incoming Students Lower Grades in High School Unwilling to work hard Less Motivated to study Lack of Curiosity to Learn Less Ambitious to get ahead in career Less focused, more distractions From low Socio-Economic Status, low income, dysfunctional families Lower expectation General attitude - Community College is easy 21 22. Remedial Measures (Challenges for Professors) Numerical and Financial Literacy in High Schools (Missing?) Initial Screening during admission of Students to courses with numbers (Weak?) Initial Periods in class devoted to simple, live examples from day to day life (Lacking - Time Pressure?) Disclose honestly genuine effort needed to succeed in course Preaching vs. Teaching (without scaring students?) Provide continuous feedback on computation and presentation of numbers to reveal their appropriate meaning (Repetitive, time consuming?) Balancing needs of good students vs. No Child Left Behind Policy (Something has to give?) 22 23. First Lesson in Numbers You cannot Avoid Them !! Virtually Every Activity in an Individuals Life: Age, Birth Days, Anniversaries, death School, Class size, Grades, Graduations Sports, distance, height, speed, timing Shopping, sales tax, bills, fees, other taxes College Fees, student loans, expenses Parents earnings, mortgage, family commitments Salary, benefits, FICA, Federal/State income taxes Filing of annual Tax Returns (Personal and corporate) and quarterly payments Even Supreme Court Justices have to face numbers !! 23 24. How Lawyers and Journalists Choose their Profession ? Joke:They choose their professions on the promise that there would be no math or hard science involved in their work. Source: Washington Post of 06/17/2013 - Robert Barnes on the Federal Page on a Supreme Court case involving the IRS and a corporate taxpayer disputing a tax liability formula: Tax = 51.71% x {P (FV/9) x 4.0027} P = Total Profits, FV = Floating Value at which company was privatized, 9 = P/E Ratio, 4.0027 = number of years 24 25. Findings of an AACU Survey of Employers in January 2010 Over 65% of the employers said that two and four year colleges should place more emphasis on: (i) Understanding global context of situations,(ii) Global issues implications for future, (iii) Understanding the role of U.S. in the world, and (iv) Knowledge of cultural diversity in the U.S./world 25 26. Readiness of Students for Work in the Global Economy Knowing and understandin