On Improving Algebra Tests
by David Eugene Smith - 1923
The world in general and the educational world in particular is always trying to escape from tyranny, and it always does it in just one way, by the substitution of a new tyranny for an old one. In algebra we have had the dictation of constituted authorities of all sorts ranging from the state to committees of teachers and to individual superintendents and principals. The individual teacher has also contributed to this tyranny, and now it is rather seriously proposed to surrender the authority to the pupil—and probably we might do worse. New York State has dictated regents examinations, generally good for a poor teacher and generally bad for a good one. The College Entrance Examination Board has also, and naturally, dictated what should be taught in algebra, and has recently made a long step in advance by a series of improvements. Each of these cases of dictation has contributed powerfully to making algebra stagnant, and each has been potent in keeping it on a dead level of traditional mechanism.
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