Welcome to every exam that I took in a Chemical Engineering class (transport phenomena) that I had to takeâŚ I tended to have a slightly non-standard approach to some math problems that was perfectly acceptable in every other physics/engineering class, but in this one they started subtracting points as soon as I deviated from scripture.

Perhaps some day in the future, when this math teacher has to teach a higher grade, theyâll encounter the notion that A*B = B*A

Being the parent of a 3rd and a 4th grader, Iâve seen similar. I think thereâs a couple of points to make.

- The teacher is working off a curriculum that presents the idea that multiplication, when first introduced, is always of the form (multiples) of (thing), or m x t. So by that definition, itâs technically incorrect to say that 5 x 3 = 5 + 5 + 5, since 3 is the thing being multiplied.
- The idea that factors in multiplication can be swapped around (the commutative property) hasnât be introduced yet, so the student canât be assumed to KNOW that those factors can be rearranged to get the same answer.

That said, I would never accept my kids being docked points for answering this way, Iâd be protesting to the teacher too.

What the actual fuck?

Unless there is some other instructions not on the sheet, I donât get it.

Also, in before Common Core bitching.

Once I read A*B = B*A, an ABBA track started playing in my mind, which promptly tried to figure out a ACSII emoji that fit the equation: âha! itâs a perplexed cat!â

Assuming an abelian group.

Iâm reminded of the time I lost 10 points in a chemistry lab report for saying a chemical burned with a âyellow-orangeâ flame, rather than the teacher-approved âorange-yellowâ. Yes, it was entirely subjective because we werenât using spectroscopes to observe emission/absorption lines. No, she didnât care. Thank god nobody in our class was colorblind!

The teacher may very well have good reason to be docking points. It could very well be that they are teaching the kids that they are to read the multiplication problem as â5 Groups of 3 equalsâ. This may be to prepare the properly read a division problem in the future.

Furthermore the second one might be to prepare the child to correctly print out matrices in their future more advanced math classes where a 4x6 matrix is very very different then a 6x4 matrix.

Lets not jump to conclusions now.

You Will be Assimilated. Resistance is Futile.

This is what I have to look forward to. My kidâs in 1st right now. So far, our first-year-teaching-full-time teacher hasnât made any robotic, must-follow-script-exactly boneheaded mistakes like this on his math homework. The boy is getting stars for just turning them in on time and complete. Correct answers are just the icing on momâs supervision cake.

One of my anatomy teachers also taught math. Our textbook described a concussion, or one form of it, as a rupturing of blood vessels in the brain and added that a concussion may be described as âa brain bruiseâ.

It still rankles me that I used the longer description on a test when asked to define a concussion and got docked points because my teacher crossed that out and wrote âBRAIN BRUISE!â in angry red letters. And at the time I thought, hey, I guess thatâs why you mostly teach math. You canât handle questions with more than one right answer.

Granted #notallmathteachers

Except the student actually **demonstrated** that they did know!

Borg math: 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 = 1

Shocking, the notion that a child in first grade trying to accomplish homework and actively participating could be seen as more important than a seven year old getting every answer correct for a perfect grade. (ie their parents doing their homework for them)

My daughter got docked a mark on a math test in grade 2 during a probability unit because she categorized the statement âyou will go to sleep tonightâ as âlikelyâ instead of âcertainâ. I told her that I wasnât going to intervene but she was welcome to protest to the teacher. The teacher refused to change the grade. My husband let her stay up all night the following Saturday. She felt pretty smug when the sun came up the next day.

Actually the common core (at least the one my kids are taking) is very focused on showing many many ways to come at and solve a problem. More than Iâm am even familiar with, so I end up learning some new techniques or just scratching my head as to âwhy are you doing it that way? Must be this âNew Mathââ

You knowâŚI have a 9th grader, 7th grader, and 2nd grader. So I have seen this sort of thing before. When I was a kid, getting the right answer was the important part, not how you got it (assuming no cheating). Today, its all âSHOW YOUR WORKâ because they are teaching the methodsâŚI get that.

HOWEVERâŚthis one I have a problem with. In the first problem he/she corrects the kid to use the primary integer in the columns and secondary integer in the row for restating the equation in a repeated addition strategy. But why in the hell is the expectation the opposite for the array strategy!!! He/She then corrects the kid to qualify the secondary integer in the columns and primary in rows.

Pick a methodology for applying the strategies.

Ugh.

Points and grades on this level of education are just (even more) stupid (than grades and points later on).

This was an opportunity to start a conversation about the âwhyâ here, and by just docking points theyâve killed that chance. A shame, that is.

Why not just take this as the time to teach the commutative property (since itâs just come up!)?

Iâll also be clear:

This is not the failing of ânew mathâ or a âcommon coreâ thing- this is a teacher throwing away a chance to teach.

I am actually PRO Common Core.

Nearly every criticism I have seen about CC has nothing to do with it.

Even in your example, that is just the new curriculum that the educators are coming up with on new ways to teach kids math. CC doesnât actually say you have to teach that way.