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Interesting articles which originated from a reader in the Chinese daily about Maths questions for P1.(click on the links to see the questions)

http://www.asiaone.com/print/News/Educa ... 59460.html

How far should schools push students?

Adding, subtracting and multiplying are seemingly not good enough for primary one students anymore. One school has given its seven-year-olds algebra exam questions allegedly meant for higher level kids. -AsiaOne Education

Mon, Apr 14, 2008

AsiaOne

How much mathematics do primary one students have to know?

Adding, subtracting and multiplying - the typical maths curriculum taught to these seven-year-olds - are seemingly not enough, at least for one school.

According to Lianhe Wanbao, a parent had wrote in to the morning version of the Chinese daily about several of Pei Chun Public School's maths questions (see example below) from a mid-year exam held two years ago.

He reportedly felt that the problems given in the exam were too difficult for primary one students.

The parent told the the Chinese daily that algebra was only taught to Secondary two or three students during his schooldays.

"Taking into account the mentality and inference abilities of these seven-year-olds, besides making wild guesses, how else can they handle (these difficult questions)?", asked the parent.

The same parent also said that such maths problems will bring frustration to both the children and their parents, continued the report from Lianhe Wanbao.

He expressed that parents who are afraid to lose out will invariably go all out to sign their kids up for more tuition, thus causing their children to suffer.

http://www.asiaone.com/print/News/Educa ... 59461.html

School's response

Pei Chun Public School explains why "hard" algebra sums were given as exam questions to primary one students. -AsiaOne

Mon, Apr 14, 2008

AsiaOne

According to Pei Chun Public School, the questions were not beyond the primary one students' understanding ability.

When questioned by Lianhe Wanbao, the primary school said that the maths problems highlighted by a parent in the previous report were indeed similar to its past exam questions.

The school's Head of Department (HOD) for Mathematics said that the study of mathematics should not only stick to the stipulated curriculum, but should also train a student's inference ability. As such, it was difficult to pinpoint which chapter or section of the curriculum the problems were testing.

"This question (see graphic below) tests simple mathematical reasoning," he told the Chinese Daily.

Although students only learn algebra in primary six, primary one students can also solve the problem if they understand what they have learnt in their daily maths lessons and have a keen mathematical ability, he continued.

Exams are structured neither to bring down a student's confidence nor to allow all students to get a 100 per cent score, said the HOD.

Every school will set questions with different levels of difficulty with the aim of differentiating students of varying abilities, he added.

http://www.omy.sg/news/localnews/200804 ... _1704.html

小一考代数几何 学校刁难孩童

小学一年级的数学考题，竟有代数和几何学题目，学校是否太刁难7岁孩童？

一名家长日前投函《早报》言论版，说他偶然看到公立培群学校前年年中的数学试卷，发现部分考题对小一生来说难度相当高。他列出其中两道题（见制图），指它们涉及代数和几何范围。

他记得自己是在中二、中三才学代数和几何学。“以7岁童的心智和推理能力，面对这样深奥的题目，除了随便乱猜之外，还有什么办法可以应付？”

他表示，这类题目令小孩和家长很苦恼。“家长因怕输，让儿女拼命恶补，在学习的道路上，我们的孩子实在太苦、太苦了！”

《新明》测试：仅11%小一生全答对

《新明日报》记者拿这两道考题，分别测试了43名小一和小二生，结果27名小一生中，只有3人全对，只占约11%；而16名小二生中，也只有5人答对。

接受记者测试而答对的小朋友说，在学校接触过类似题目，所以不觉得难。大部分答错的小朋友，都得经过一番解释，才恍然大悟。

校方怎么说？

学校说，题目考推理和智商，但并非超出小一生的理解能力。

公立培群学校受询时表示，单看所举的两题，确实和学校前年教学试卷的考题相似。

该校数学部主任陈老师表示，学数学不只专注课程内容，也锻炼推理技巧，因此很难说上述两题到底在考课程的哪一章哪一节。

“第一题测试简单的代数推理，虽然小六才学代数，但即使小一生，只要理解平时所学，数学感觉敏锐，是有能力回答的，数字也没超出小一生掌握的范围。”

他说，小一生都学过三角形，第二题要他们算三角形总数，属智商题，很难说在考课程哪个部分。

“考试不应摧毁信心，但也不是让所有人拿满分，每间学校都会出难度不同的题目，目的是为区分能力不同的学生。”