That’s What You Mean When You Say “Think”!

That’s a quote from a student.  My wife likes the story and thought I should post it.  It’s from when I taught at Southern Illinois University back in the eighties. First, you need a little background. I would tell calculus students that there is a special method for solving many math problems.  When they asked what it […]

Content Deflation III – Does Wash. U. Physics Prof. Adopt It With Zeal? And Does the University Boast About It? Read This

This is from my story ATaleOutofSchool  but it is self-contained.  I think it is helpful in understanding how much “content deflation” has entered the academy as a marketing tool that caters to student “wants”, while leaving students on their own to acquire their “needs”.  Of course, it is even worse that just leaving them on […]

The Start of Grade Inflation Wonderfully Described by Someone Who Was There

There is a new comment on my post Education First? or, Endowment First? .  I recommend reading the whole comment; but, here, I want to call attention to the excellent description of how much everything changed in such a short time.  I will add some thoughts at the end. “When I first started college in 1967, the […]

Political Science: University of Michigan, too?

Here is what I found.  They use the same text as Washington University, except that I don’t think they have outside readings.  On the other hand, if, as is apparently true in Wash. U.’s case, the readings don’t matter, what does it matter what text they use? (See my previous post.) The link to the […]

Political Science Courses – Content Deflation? Just How Bad Is It?

I recently had a discussion with someone who felt that I might be overreacting to changes in education.  My friend felt that it was important to interest students in a subject even if that meant teaching them less.  Of course, we agreed that it is a matter of degree.  My friend worried that I was wrong about […]

Is University of Missouri’s Calculus Easier Than AP Calculus?

I just talked to a student who told me that his friends told him that.  He asked me if it was true.  I said, “probably so”.  Of course, AP Calculus is not college calculus either.  See my posts under the category “AP Calculus”.

Professor Alfred Doesn’t Know What is Wrong with the Homework

(At a regional public university) That’s right, he really doesn’t.  I know because he told me.  I will tell the story here.  It is not nice to make fun of Prof. Alfred (a real person but made-up name), and that is not my purpose.  (He is actually a very nice person.) But it is important […]

What does it mean to “learn calculus”

In a recent post, Calculus on the Road, I pointed out that studnts who didn’t know the definition of a derivative were making good grades in their calculus class.  So what does “learning calculus” mean?  At some “elite” schools it doesn’t mean knowing any formal definition of a limit (part of the definition of a derivative).  For […]

Calculus on the Road

I’m sitting in a Starbucks in NorthCarolina next to three young community college students who are studying calculus on a Saturday morning.  They were nice enough to answer my two questions.  The fist was “What is the definition of the derivative?” Two said they don’t know, then one said it is a rate.  I pressed him […]