This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?

ESTIMATOR® SOFTWARE

©2011 – Contact Sapper1@sympatico.ca

**A FAILURE IN MATHEMATICAL RIGOR CAN RESULT IN A CATASTROPHIC FAILURE
**

A BRIEF UNDERSTANDING OF THE PROBLEM AND A SIMPLE SOLUTION

**Picture Taken From The Internet
**

Search For “Deck Failures” (link given below) - See Article by Chris Fox ,7 May, 2010

Chris Fox points out that “The number of deck failures and resulting injuries has been increasing at an alarming rate. Between 2000 and 2008, there were at least 30 deaths reported as a direct result of deck collapses, and more than 75 percent of people on a deck when it collapses are injured or killed. With over 40 million decks in the United States that are more than 20 years old, it's important for homeowners to check their deck.” They must do this by hiring a qualified licensed professional. The question readers should ask themselves is who are the individuals designing, inspecting and approving these decks? Are they Licensed Professional Engineers, Certified Engineering Technologists or Technicians, ABC Fence and Deck Companies, Friends, and or CoWorkers? What qualifications and or training must they posses in order to design and construct such platforms? A deck is a structure, like any other building. It requires the same concepts as those utilized in the design of any building, yet many people do not look at this in that way. Many think, oh, its just a deck. What's the big deal? Obtaining the services of a qualified professional is very important, even with a deck. Those professionals, in particular, should have a good structural knowledge and have excellent math skills to calculate the stresses and loads in order to properly design a deck (as they would any other structure). Much research and documentation on the subject has revealed the decline in the requirements of higher math levels, particular at the high school and college levels. If a student strives to become a designer, or performing engineering at some level, the current math levels taught may prevent them from performing such proper designs and calculations. With the advent of computer systems and design software, the designer must be able to manually check and verify the calculations generated by that software. Just because one puts numbers into

1

**MR.ESTIMATOR® SOFTWARE
**

©2011 – Contact Sapper1@sympatico.ca

some software does not mean that the final solution will be correct. In order to check these calculations, the end user must be proficient in math, and the following: a) fully understand the design concepts, b) safety factor required, and c) stress and strains within the structure itself. These would be affected by and include environmental influences such as soil type, snow loading, frost line, water drainage, etc. all of which can influence the final design of the structure. If we now combine the number of decks built in Canada with in the United States, we can easily envision that this can be a very large concern. This concern does not stop with the simple deck, but refers to any structure, object, or device that a college student might design. If a third party is now going to be affected by that design, they should be assured that it is SAFE. This is not possible without that designer being subject to math courses and core courses in a college that are a) rigorous, b) involve an engineering approach (using first principles), c) Diverse, d) and reflect actual design problems that will be faced in the real world. Refer to:

**http://blog.ufpi.com/blog/deck-repair WHAT IS AT THE ROOT OF THE PROBLEM?
**

The Saturday Star newspaper, September 17 2011 shows the headlines: “'I failed most of my tests and still got 85%'..Undercover reporter pays $500 for course at private high school in Toronto and achieves a mathematically impossible grade.” The Star.com for 16 September, 2011 gives the headline: “Cash for marks gets kids into university”. The Toronto Star, 6 April, 2009 shows the headlines: “Profs blast carefree frosh” . This article states that “more than 55% of Ontario's faculty and librarians believe students are less prepared for university than even 3 years ago”. The article goes further to state that as for “first year students, Brown said professors don't think they have the needed critical thinking or math skills, and they lack the ability to learn independently”. Reading these articles is a cause for great concern about some students entering the college system. What about the students entering a college with a grade 9, or 10 math, or students who have not had a math course in several years? Some colleges may feel they have to give “very basic” pre – technical Mathematics 1 classes at a high school level, or less just to try to get these students back to thinking about math. If their first math course is simple, then all others have to be equally as simple, or their will be high failure rates. This will not be tolerated by most colleges. These students must then graduate with the required applied mathematics skills to be eligible to be certified by the pertinent regulation body and may not be getting this in some key courses. Students’ class time is about 30% less today than 40 years ago, with a course content that is very much reduced and students are still maintaining an A and B average. How do these students, at the lower end of the grade scale, function in a design situation with a Professional Engineer, or Architect and maintain an assurance that their work is correct? The Five Year Party, by Craig Brandon published by Benbella books Inc. has a detailed bibliography and points out this problem more extensively (based on US schools). It's worth taking the time to read this and the other articles cited above to get a greater more in depth view of the problem and how it may impact the graduates. This “problem” is much more complex than can be described here. If you are interested in knowing more, please contact the author for a PDF on Math Anxiety and Ethical Math Practices.

**WHAT IS MATH RIGOR AND WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
**

The article in American Teacher (4 Sept 2007) stated that, “Rigor is not fifty math problems for homework when fewer will achieve mastery. Rigor is not more worksheets for the student who finished the assignment early. Rigor is not using a seventh grade text book with your high performing sixth grade students. Rigor is not covering more material in a shorter period of time. Rigor is not cold or impersonal. And most of all, rigor is not just for a select group of students.” The article goes on to say that, “The most concise definition of rigor I’ve encountered is taken from Teaching What Matters Most: Standards and Strategies for Raising Student Achievement by Richard W. Strong, Harvey F. Silver and Matthew J. Perini, ASCD, 2001. According to Strong, Silver, and Perini, 'Rigor is the goal of helping students develop the capacity to understand content that is complex, ambiguous, provocative, and personally or emotionally challenging.'” This is what our engineering schools are trying to maintain and what our colleges are trying to ensure for their students because

2

**MR.ESTIMATOR® SOFTWARE
**

©2011 – Contact Sapper1@sympatico.ca

anybody involved in a design must be able to identify a problem, or prove that design is safe and make adequate judgments. The only way to ensure this is with mathematics, since it is the universal language of technology. The article goes on to say that “Their findings show 'the decision to withhold rigor from some students is one of the most important reasons why schools fail.' (Strong, Silver, Perini, 2001)” Another important thing to consider is that “this definition of rigor presents the possibility that even an advanced placement course may not be full of rigor? While the curriculum may be complex, time may not be given to allow the content to reveal its ambiguous, provocative, or personally and emotionally challenging nature. And because of this, students are simply memorizing huge chunks of facts, regurgitating them onto an AP exam, and then forgetting them forever. “Refer to: http://debbieshultsblog.blogspot.com/2007/09/is-it-rigor-or-is-it-something-else.html

**WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN APPLIED MATHEMATICS AND THE MATHEMATICS TAUGHT AT A HIGHSCHOOL, OR GRADE SCHOOL?
**

Taken from Wikipedia.org: “Applied mathematics is a branch of mathematics that concerns itself with mathematical methods that are typically used in science, engineering, business, and industry. Thus, "applied mathematics" is a mathematical science with specialized knowledge. The term "applied mathematics" also describes the professional specialty in which mathematicians work on practical problems; as a profession focused on practical problems, applied mathematics focuses on the formulation and study of mathematical models. In the past, practical applications have motivated the development of mathematical theories, which then became the subject of study in pure mathematics, where mathematics is developed primarily for its own sake. Thus, the activity of applied mathematics is vitally connected with research in pure mathematics.” Mathematics taught at a high school, or grade school refers the concepts that are taught without an emphasis on the above topics. A Professional Engineer is an applied mathematics professional who deals with design problems that require a “mathematical rigor” in order to prove a design is safe. For this reason, a Professional Engineer can “add value” to teaching mathematics courses at the university and college level to students taking engineering or applying to become a Engineer, Technical Practitioner, Technologist, or Technician. A Professional Engineer is skilled in helping students place an emphasis on the decision making process that is required to ensure “safety” in a design, process, algorithm, or report of any kind. Students at the high school level who apply for entry into engineering programs, or technology programs now need to be trained with applied mathematics rigor in order to make safe judgments. The high school or grade school model cannot work effectively in these situations.

**WHAT WOULD PROMOTE RIGOR IN THE CLASSROOM?
**

We have to use an instruction format and “inquiry model” that challenges the students to ask “HOW?” and “WHY?” for the techniques that are presented. There must be sufficient “depth and breadth” to the concepts and problems to allow the students to develop solutions based on “first principles”, rather than memorize chunks of information for a test. The students should be encouraged to use the latest technologies to “explore” the limits of a problem and envision other ways of solving those problems. For example: The students may be encouraged to develop a program that will explore the limits of a given design problem (as a lab assignment in math). The students must be encouraged to a) develop strategies (based on the mathematical tools they are given), b) detect any problems in the magnitude of any given solution and discuss the two questions posed above to explain this. c) to independently, read and solve problems from “other text books”, becoming familiar with the other ways in which the material given is described. d) detecting any bias in the information given, and e) solving problems that require several steps in order to attain the relevant data to complete the given problem in a way that is both “safe”, practical and cost effective. Regulatory organizations accredit colleges based on core courses with an emphasis on mathematics to ensure their current and future members meet a specific standard. Using a Power Point technique in a classroom may be relevant to illustrate some graphs, etc, but is not recommended for the solution of problems. Many Power Point presentations reduce the mathematics to a descriptive level (which in itself is not a problem), but it encourages students to “memorize” a method, or technique without actually solving many different kinds and combinations of problems. The depth and breadth of

3

**MR.ESTIMATOR® SOFTWARE
**

©2011 – Contact Sapper1@sympatico.ca

the problem must be explored and the limits defined in the minds of the students (with respect to the concepts presented).

**WHAT ARE SOME COLLEGES TRYING TO DO TO KEEP STUDENTS INTERESTED?
**

The problem, to many non-technical educators (teaching technology courses), seems to focus on keeping the student interested in the subject by dazzling them with the use of devices in their math classes. Some seem to believe that they should not bombard students with difficult concepts, but rather stick to the easier problems within a given course text. If this instructor is a team leader, then generally, all other members of that team (teaching the various sections) will have to follow the assignments and tests (for length, and difficulty) for that particular team leader. This can affect hundreds of students. The higher grades generated will keep students interested and wanting to go on. All of this sounds good on the surface. Students will want to go on. Why not? They will see the program as very simple. Even those who choose not to attend classes will do very well. An article entitled “Students Pick Easier Majors Despite Less Pay” seems to illustrate this. See article:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203733504577026212798573518.html? mod=WSJ_Careers_CareerJournal_2 . Another article in the New York Times entitled “Why Science

Majors Change Their Minds (It’s Just So Darn Hard)” seems to further reinforce the idea that the easier courses, or the ones with better grades are the best choice for these students. See article:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/06/education/edlife/why-science-majors-change-their-mind-its-justso-darn-hard.html?_r=3&pagewanted=all <http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/06/education/edlife/why-science-majors-change-their-mind-its-justso-darn-hard.html?_r=3&pagewanted=all>

This is why a technical individual such as a Professional Engineer (with an advanced degree in the Applied Sciences) will add value to the mathematics courses and core courses. They will be able to a) make the courses interesting by developing “technical” projects that utilize the math they are learning, b) illustrate many different ways of solving typical technically related design problems, c) illustrate the solution of problems from “first principles” and dazzling the students with how easy these concepts can be utilized and “modeled” with the software they are using in their courses. This will keep the “serious students” interested, without compromising the needed “rigor” in the course. The grades will then represent the course outline and given weekly schedule completely. Students who are not willing to come to classes and who are not willing to work hard, should not be rewarded with higher grades “just to keep them interested”. How will they be able to complete a design, like the deck illustrated above, and prove it is safe? Would you want a student with “compressed grades”, doing the simpler problems in their courses, to design something for you? Would you feel confident that it was safe? This is what our educators must think about.

WHAT ARE SOME STUDENTS SAYING ABOUT BEING GIVEN THE “RIGOR” FROM A PROFESSOR WHO IS A PROFESSIONAL ENGINEER?

Some students who are subject to this type of program will drop out in the first few weeks, as they are coming from a more relaxed program and simply feel they will not be able to keep up. Other students with a stronger base come to see this methodology as necessary and beneficial. In some colleges, this method is rare, as many administrators and professors teaching math are not technically oriented at all. One student wrote: this course “has improved my critical thinking and application skills effectively” (referring to a math 1 course) and went on to say that “because of your experience and the way you design the math questions in class, I feel very confident and competent in mathematics. Unlike the students from the course taught by other instructors I find myself being able to solve problems everywhere. Further, I help other students from other classes in solving their problems”. Another student wrote: “The teaching style of showing how to do something so many different ways yet finding the best and most accurate is very helpful. To be very honest it is my favorite class every week as you make math as enjoyable and simple as it can possibly be”. That’s the idea here. Properly taught, by a Licensed Professional, while being given the appropriate “rigor”, can be made very simple indeed! Other professors may look upon this course and say it is too difficult for the students, or the assignments are too lengthy, or the tests are too long to solve in one hour. Whatever the excuse, it is hard for them to understand

4

**MR.ESTIMATOR® SOFTWARE
**

©2011 – Contact Sapper1@sympatico.ca

how a student would be motivated to do math without using other devices like the internet, or iPad, to take a free thinking approach. This same student went on to say “I would not change much at all as it is working very well for me and I know it could be a lot harder if I had another professor that didn’t teach how you do”. Another student suggested this novel idea: “I guess you should start making students do problems on the board! That will be more fun!” Everyone seems to be focusing on the electronic presentation and forgetting that some students may actually want to participate and feel that they are making a difference. Another student comments by saying “You are the only teacher that is able to teach compared to my other classes”. This is not because I use the whiteboard extensively, but perhaps relate the problems to “real design problems” that the students can envision doing when they leave college. One has to ask, Is the college trying to keep students interested, with higher grades so they will “feel like” they got a good program? Is the college trying to minimize the complaints, when students say the course is too hard? We can ask a hundred questions like this. It all simply boils down to one question: How prepared will the student be upon graduation? Will that student be able to competently prove that a design is safe? That is the bottom line. As one student stated “Well it’s going awesome and everyone is enjoying it. So keep it the way it is.”

**HOW DOES THIS RELATE TO ONE’S CERTIFICATION AS A TECHNICAL PRACTITIONER, TECHNOLOGIST, OR TECHNICIAN?
**

The minimum requirement for entry as a Technical Practitioner, Certified Technologist, or Technician is a D grade in a certified college program. This certification is based on course outlines presented to the regulatory body, assuring that all students meet the concepts and outcomes. The problem arises when a mathematics course, or key core course is not taught in a rigorous fashion meaning that any, or all of the following may occur: a) very short, easy assignments, b) practice tests that reflect the real test (only with different numbers, etc). c) a very narrow scope for the course referring to narrow sections of chapters where a lot of time is wasted on very basic aspects of the concepts, d) a lot of time being wasted to prepare them to write a given test. These actions, collectively, stimulate a “higher” grade for the overall course. This means that a student, who might attain a 30% to 40% (for example) in a rigorous course, may end up with a C, or higher in a more relaxed course taught by individuals who are not using an applied mathematics approach from “first principles”. This grade compression will now allow the student who would otherwise fail, or drop out of a “rigorous“ course using “first principles”, to become a member, with the pertinent regulatory body in your province, from a more relaxed course (without the direct knowledge of that regulatory body, since the course outline content is controlled at the college level). In most cases, designs that affect public safety, require a Professional Engineer to stamp them as safe and meeting all the required codes, laws and statutes (as a minimum requirement). However, many technical practitioners, or technologists may be employed to work with these engineers and are encouraged by their regulatory body to use their stamp. How would it look if any of the following scenarios occurred? a) work presented to the engineer for approval is incorrect, b) a deck was designed for a friend and it failed and killed someone, c) a member from a relaxed program (not realizing it was relaxed) “believed” that they could do this design, because of compressed grades they attained at the college they attended. These are possible scenarios that need to be addressed. This regulatory body needs to “know” that all of the students that they certify meet all of the requirements that they “approved” in order to minimize the risk to the public. This is a reasonable assumption. The regulatory body approves applied mathematics courses and key core courses that meet or exceed a higher standard for this reason. Mathematics is the only way that a design can be deemed safe.

**THE USE OF A STAMP AND A CODE OF ETHICS
**

Each regulatory body is proud of the work they have achieved to ensure that a college meets the certification requirements. When the stamp of that regulatory body is placed on a design, drawing, procedure, lab report, letter, or raw data, etc. it virtually means that the person (who's name is on that stamp) ensures that the Code of Ethics is followed and that the safety of the public is held paramount. So, using this stamp, identifies this user, as one who has applied the required due diligence to the problem and identifies to all who see it that they are certified to do so by that regulatory body. This is a huge responsibility that most take very seriously. For this reason the regulatory body must always be sure of the quality of any graduate. Without the rigor in mathematics and a continued professional practice upgrade by our current Technical Practitioners, Technologists and

5

**MR.ESTIMATOR® SOFTWARE
**

©2011 – Contact Sapper1@sympatico.ca

Technicians it will become more difficult to solve problems in technology as time progresses. Complexity in technology is increasing at an exponential rate and so too are the problems that develop. Since mathematics is the “language of technology” it makes good sense to ensure that all members stay current in their particular fields. Each regulatory body has maintained a record of excellence and is constantly striving to maintain a high visibility in the technology sector.

6

Sign up to vote on this title

UsefulNot useful- Sample Exam 1by Kerry Sun
- School Help: A Teacher and Tutor eGuide to Help the Older Student with Limited Math Skills/Book Excerptby The Psycho-Educational Teacher
- UT Dallas Syllabus for eco5309.501.07f taught by (obri)by UT Dallas Provost's Technology Group
- A DISCRETE RETRIAL SYSTEM WITH UNIFORMLY DISTRIBUTED SERVICE TIME.pdfby ebenesarb

- ControlTheoryAppltoProd-InventoryProblemSurvey
- directvariation-1111
- A Recursion Removal Theorem -- Proof and Applications
- MA1506CHAP3.pdf
- Academic Performance Profile of Pcc Students
- Am s 20 x Practice Final
- math2_sept13
- Learner Assessment Assignment - M. Maxwell
- Sample Exam 1
- School Help
- UT Dallas Syllabus for eco5309.501.07f taught by (obri)
- A DISCRETE RETRIAL SYSTEM WITH UNIFORMLY DISTRIBUTED SERVICE TIME.pdf
- Mathematics
- 1st - Hobbs and McGee - Resources
- Weekly Newsletter 4
- HH 9-20
- Aptitude
- Final Curriculum Layout 07-4-10-m2
- Class Schedule 2014 - 2nd Semester
- ourstudies
- The Relation between parental involvement and math anxiety.pdf
- Using Games to Teach Math
- Let.docx
- Math Instruction for English Language Learners | ELL Topics from A-Z | Colorín Colorado.pdf
- Tamilnadu Maths EM 1-10 Std Common Syllabus (Samacheer Kalvi) 2011
- Ana%20Henriques.pdf
- Tracking Form
- Guidelines
- description
- art math lesson
- Math Rigor Failure ME V4

Are you sure?

This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?

We've moved you to where you read on your other device.

Get the full title to continue

Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.