Math isn’t exactly most people’s idea of a swell night out. For many of us, it’s no fun at all, yet we can probably all agree that it’s an important part of life.
It’s a super important part of school too, with students all over the world poring over fractions and percentages and problems night after night in homework.
It can be a struggle for parents too! We all learned this stuff so long ago, that when our kids ask for homework help, it can be difficult to remember.
Well, what would you do if your kid brought something like this doozy home?
A picture that was posted on Imgur on October 2015 went viral recently after a seemingly simple math problem was marked incorrectly.
The Common Core math worksheet asked students to utilize the ‘repeated addition method’ to solve the following problem: 3 X 5.
Okay, so repeated addition is just simply adding something over again. So 3 times 5 is simply adding 3 five times or adding five three times. With us so far? Great.
Pretty much everybody would be able to tell you the final answer is 15. But this question is about how you get to the answer, not necessarily just getting the correct answer. That’s why the student’s answer was penalized, despite it actually being right answer.
The student arrived at the right answer but apparently the way he showed his work was incorrect.
How does that work?
Well, points were apparently taken off because he wrote ‘5+5+5’ and not ‘3+3+3+3+3.’ Although both equations arrive at the same answer, the student still failed to receive the full marks for the question.
Confused? So was the rest of the internet, so you’re not alone.
Maybe it doesn’t help that we weren’t in the classroom when this was being taught, so we don’t know the specifics of what the question was getting at.
The teacher also didn’t specify when they were marking the paper why one equation was more right than the other, but the parents were most certainly confused as to why marks were deducted.
Multiplication is simply adding a number a specific number of times so no matter how they decide to multiple or add it up, so it should always arrive at the right answer, right!
Well in this case, wrong.
Maybe the teacher’s notes weren’t so helpful – hey, we don’t know that they might have explained better to the student afterward in person – but technically the answer is still wrong, even though the final number the student arrived at was right.
The important part of the paper was in bold, see? ‘Repeated addition’.
So that part in bold is what is being tested. So when the question 5×3 was asked, what it is really asking is to ‘add together three five times’.
In more mathy terms, the question is asking X times Y, and not Y times X.
Still confused? Well, put it like this. Because the question asks for repeated addition, 7+7+1 is also 15, but that’s still wrong. 1+1+1… another 12 times is also 15, but that’s still wrong!
Because the question asked 5×3, 3 needs to be added repeatedly 5 times until you get to the answer of 15.
Get it? Phew! Who the heck would be a school pupil these days, it’s so freakin’ confusing!
So what do you think? If your child came home with their math paper graded like this, would you hit the roof? Would you march up to the school and demand to speak to the math teacher? Or would you accept that hey that’s a good effort, and now your child has learned for next time exactly how to solve this problem?
Let us know your thoughts with a COMMENT, and don’t forget to SHARE this story… to confuse more people!