Another stupid internet test…
You Passed 8th Grade Math
Congratulations, you got 8/10 correct!
An 80% is humiliating and shameful, particularly since I’m a programmer who focuses on 3d. The questions I missed were related to statistics, which I’ve never taken. I couldn’t tell you how “median” differs from “average”. (More to the point, I know how to obtain an average, but not how to obtain the median. Now that I’ve taken the test, I think I’m going to google around and spackle over these gaps in my learning.) I knew that info was just a hop away with Google when I took the “test”, but I wanted to see how I could do using what’s in my head. How did I end up 34 years old and ignorant of some low-level areas of mathematics?
It’s a bit strange, really. In high school I hated, hated the numbing repetition of math. I was of the opinion that any teacher who would assign 60 nearly identical problems as homework was a demented sadist, and any student who would sit down and do all 60 was a fool.
But this was the way of things. Learning long division? Monday you’ll do a few dozen single-digit problems. Tuesday you’ll do a few dozen more, but they add a digit of complexity. Wednesday will be more of the same, with a few three-digit problems to “challenge” you. Thursday you get another batch of problems that mix them all together. Friday is the test. Rinse. Repeat.
By the end of class on Monday you had all the tools you needed for dealing with Friday’s test, but you were doomed to waste the next three days doing the same problems over and over again. The homework was extreme overkill. If I can do seven of them, then surely I can do the next fifty-three with no difficulty.
So I never did homework. Never. I would score an A or B on the test (I was sloppy, and didn’t like to show all my work) but since homework was part of the grade, I usually pulled a C or D in math. I dreaded hearing the words, “Just do the homework and I promise you will pass this class.” I took this to mean, Just make sure you do the busywork and I’ll pass you even if you don’t really learn anything. The fact that lots of people got better final grades than me when their understanding of math was not as strong only confirmed in my mind that the whole thing was a joke.
This sounds like I’m warming up for a screed against the American education system, but really the fault was my own. The fact that know-nothings can pass with decent grades is regrettable, but more important is the fact that there was still a decent education available for those who were willing to work for it. I got out of high school exactly what I put into it. Sadly, I didn’t put much into it.
I made a point of taking the easiest classes available – particularly in math. Not content with taking the regular algebra, I took the courses that watered it down and presented it in two seperate classes: Elementary Algebra 1 and Elementary Algebra 2. With all the various offerings of algebra at varying speeds, I was able to “learn” algebra three times during high school, while getting credit for doing so each time. In the end I expended a lot of effort avoiding work.
A few times people suggested that I would do well to shoot for the harder courses. This sounded insane. To me the hardest part of the course was the overload of mind-numbing work. I expected harder courses to simply be more of the same, but with more digits and larger problem counts. I found out later that the “harder” courses would have been far more interesting, and they often assigned just a small handful of (large, challenging) problems a night.
It wasn’t until a few years after graduation that I really began to see what I’d missed. I got into 3d programming, and found I needed triginomitry. More to the point, I found I liked trig. I’d never set foot in a trig course. I’d never done any calculus. I’d never taken geometry. I’d wasted all that time on re-learning stuff I already knew because I was afraid of work. Now I needed it and had to learn it on my own.
I’ve done fairly well at grasping the concepts, although since I’m self-taught a lot of the language of mathematics eludes me. I don’t know how to properly use the greek symbols, even though I’m sure I’m writing computer code for formulas that would require greek to express properly on paper.
Let’s try this again…
You Passed 8th Grade Math
Congratulations, you got 10/10 correct!
Sadly, no questions on how to normalize a vector or build an orthographic projection matrix.
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