JS-Kit/Echo comments for article at http://smallestminority.blogspot.com/2008/06/what-did-you-learn-in-high-school.html (35 comments)

  Tentative mapping of comments to original article, corrections solicited.

jsid-1213364981-593037  Mark at Fri, 13 Jun 2008 13:49:41 +0000

In answer to your question, Kevin: Enough to know when I'm out of my depth.

jsid-1213368273-593042  ben at Fri, 13 Jun 2008 14:44:33 +0000

I got two wrong. One because I computed 240/60 = 8 in my head, and the other because I didn't think about the definition of a function in advance. :p

For the record, I got 49/60 on that civics test.

jsid-1213371425-593046  William at Fri, 13 Jun 2008 15:37:05 +0000

Missed one, but I spent a lot of time on some of them due to the fact that I didn't have paper or pencil handy. Thank you, Saxon math.

jsid-1213371497-593047  Andrew Upson at Fri, 13 Jun 2008 15:38:17 +0000

I missed three, but did the whole thing in my head (expect for one of the quadratic functions that was a bit much for me to do in my head - I just used the Windows calculator for some of the calculations).

jsid-1213372896-593050  Sarah at Fri, 13 Jun 2008 16:01:36 +0000

I missed one -- how to complete a square. :-P

jsid-1213373873-593053  Kevin Baker at Fri, 13 Jun 2008 16:17:53 +0000

That's one of the ones I missed.

And I don't even have a PhD in Astrophysics! 8)

jsid-1213374240-593055  Sarah at Fri, 13 Jun 2008 16:24:00 +0000

Kevin, given that, I was embarrassed by how long it took me to remember how to do some of the questions. I have code to do most of my math for me now. And, besides, most of what I do is arithmetic anyway. One big black hole + another big black hole = an even bigger black hole.

jsid-1213374871-593056  Squeaky Wheel at Fri, 13 Jun 2008 16:34:31 +0000

The things I missed are the things I always missed in math classes. I had to repeat Algebra II. I'm one of THOSE people...math only makes marginal sense to me, unless someone shows me a neat mnemonic device for them. Otherwise, I'm screwed.

jsid-1213375642-593057  FabioC. at Fri, 13 Jun 2008 16:47:22 +0000

94% with no paper even. But hey, I do have a PhD!

jsid-1213376705-593060  Stephen R at Fri, 13 Jun 2008 17:05:05 +0000

I got a C on the civics quiz. :

The Algebra had a lot of stuff I never studied. In my school the "figure out what's on the line" stuff qualified as Pre-Calculus, which I never studied. Anything involving figuring out what X or Y is I did pretty well at.

So, I forgot some, but not as much as my score suggests....

jsid-1213379971-593068  deadcenter at Fri, 13 Jun 2008 17:59:31 +0000

52/60 in civics, 15/16 in math. have to admit trying to remember some of the factoring rules was giving me a headache.

jsid-1213380430-593070  David at Fri, 13 Jun 2008 18:07:10 +0000

I missed 2. One was a equation that I just couldn't get straight in my head. I don't remember what the other was. But even my kids haven't done algebra for 15 years..

jsid-1213381285-593072  DirtCrashr at Fri, 13 Jun 2008 18:21:25 +0000

I got 11 wrong for a score of 31% and was lucky that I got a three correct just by totally guessing so it should have been 14 wrong...
My math-skillz suck and I was "C-laned" from Jr. High onward - the California practice of educational discrimination!
The last Algebra I did was 33 years ago. My 11th grade Algebra teacher had really incredibly horrible dizzyingly bad halitosis - you never wanted to raise your hand and ask a question because he might come down the row and breathe on you which could cause tears and fainting and other extremis. I got a "C" or a "C-" that year.

jsid-1213381307-593073  BenD at Fri, 13 Jun 2008 18:21:47 +0000

54 out of 60 civics, missed 5 on the math. There is a reason I went from a Phyics/Math double major to a History Poli Sci...and it shows!!!

jsid-1213381808-593075  Unix-Jedi at Fri, 13 Jun 2008 18:30:08 +0000

I got a 63% on the algebra.

Which ain't too shabby considering it's been 20 years since I learned it?

And I've got a major block on math learning in my brain. Heck, I think I got a C, with an excellent teacher, when I took it in high school.

So a 63% has me pretty stoked, since I missed the domain (what's a domain?) that I'd have known if I was doing more with it on a regular basis.

jsid-1213383768-593076  Squeaky Wheel at Fri, 13 Jun 2008 19:02:48 +0000

Unix-Jedi - I know enough to know that the domain is the value on the X (horizontal) axis. Heh. I got that question wrong, though, because...well, I don't know why. I was looking at the region or something instead. Boo.

jsid-1213383812-593077  DJ at Fri, 13 Jun 2008 19:03:32 +0000


C'mon, you slackers, did you notice the flaws in the answers?

For question 11, the correct answer was "D", but it was missing a "+" sign between terms on the left side.

For question 15, the correct answer was "B", but answers "B" and "D" were identical.

I took it using Firefox, and a whole lot of fractional terms were missing their horizontal lines. Anyone else have that problem?

jsid-1213384696-593078  Guest (anonymous) at Fri, 13 Jun 2008 19:18:16 +0000

what the heck is an opposite number? They seem to mean that a positive number is opposite to the same number if it is negative, but that is meaningless and new terminology.

jsid-1213385229-593079  William at Fri, 13 Jun 2008 19:27:09 +0000

Anon, that's the definition of opposite numbers. See here for more. Also, DJ, yes I had the same problems with fractional lines. I noticed that B and D were the same in question 15, but picked the right one so it didn't make a difference for me.

jsid-1213385620-593080  Kevin Baker at Fri, 13 Jun 2008 19:33:40 +0000

I picked the wrong one. Does that mean I only missed two? ;)

jsid-1213385793-593081  ben at Fri, 13 Jun 2008 19:36:33 +0000

Yep, DJ, I had the same problems. I got those ones right though.

jsid-1213385953-593082  Sarah at Fri, 13 Jun 2008 19:39:13 +0000

I took it using Firefox, and a whole lot of fractional terms were missing their horizontal lines. Anyone else have that problem?

I had the same problem. Took me a sec to realize the lines were missing.

jsid-1213387509-593084  DJ at Fri, 13 Jun 2008 20:05:09 +0000

Yes, Kevin, if you picked any answer that was correct, then you answered it correctly. Fair is fair, right?

At university, I made it a game to look for problems that could not be answered, given what was stated, or, for multiple guess questions, that I could show had no correct answer listed. Some teachers rose to the challenge and some got really bent. The class always loved it.

jsid-1213390837-593087  FabioC. at Fri, 13 Jun 2008 21:00:37 +0000


I've never been really good at maths myself. I've failed more than one mid-year test at high school and barely passed exams at the university.

Still, it seems I learnt and retained enough of the basic concepts.

jsid-1213391384-593089  Sarah at Fri, 13 Jun 2008 21:09:44 +0000

What's your Ph.D. in, Fabio?

jsid-1213399009-593100  Regolith at Fri, 13 Jun 2008 23:16:49 +0000

I'd take the test, but my brain is still fried from the discreet math final exam I took yesterday. :P

(For the record, I got a 96% on that one. It covered the Binomial theorem, various bits of graph theory, induction, and truth tables).

jsid-1213414698-593109  markm at Sat, 14 Jun 2008 03:38:18 +0000

DJ: It's the same in Opera, half of the horizontal lines were missing. And I spent an extra minute on #15, trying to see a difference between answer B and D...

jsid-1213426465-593121  Mike at Sat, 14 Jun 2008 06:54:25 +0000

Damn it! I missed question 11. Got all the rest, though. Nothing but paper and pencil, and what's left of my brain cells after 44 years.

jsid-1213432034-593122  FabioC. at Sat, 14 Jun 2008 08:27:14 +0000

In Chemical Engineering, Sarah.

jsid-1213450973-593125  karrde at Sat, 14 Jun 2008 13:42:53 +0000

While, I got #15 wrong (because of two apparently-identical answers), and one other (might have been the one with the misplaced sign...).

The only one I had to dig out a paper and pencil for was #14.

I think I missed less than 5 on the Civics test; one was due to me skimming the question and misreading a quote.

jsid-1213465635-593139  ravenshrike at Sat, 14 Jun 2008 17:47:15 +0000

Um, the test itself is bogus. There's no such thing as an opposite number in pure math. There's either a reciprocal or an additive inverse, but no opposite number.

jsid-1213467585-593142  Kevin Baker at Sat, 14 Jun 2008 18:19:45 +0000


It's a test the students of the LA school districts must pass though...

jsid-1213476824-593148  DJ at Sat, 14 Jun 2008 20:53:44 +0000

Interestingly, although Wikipedia describes "the additive inverse, or opposite, of a number", Penguin's Dictionary of Mathematics" contains no such definition. I was taught the term back in the stone age. So, who gets to decide such things?

jsid-1213487624-593157  Anon at Sat, 14 Jun 2008 23:53:44 +0000

I got a 69%, but I made some stupid mistakes (notably on the line-intercept problems and didn't think through FOIL) and I screwed up on 15 as well, selecting "D" instead of "B". I figure I got an 85% if I hadn't made those errors.

jsid-1213629926-593223  Less at Mon, 16 Jun 2008 15:25:26 +0000

I did alright. Missed one, but that was due to faulty complete the squares...

I lurve Math!

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