This year's TAKS scores are, to some, discouraging. Quoth The AP:
Sixteen percent of Texas high school seniors won't graduate this spring because they failed at least one of the state's required exit-level exams, the Texas Education Agency said.
I was a good math student back in the day, but I haven't taken math in 10 years. What I learned most from working my way through the TAKS was that math is not useful in real life, unless you are an economist, an engineer, or you own a garden shaped like an equilateral triangle that measures 11 feet on each side and place a watering hose that extends from the faucet located at a vertex to the opposite side, as shown at left, and want to know the length of the hose but don't have anything with which to measure it.
My score: 59 out of 60. I missed No. 20, which asks the test-taker to "use the ruler on the Mathematics Chart to measure the dimensions" of a rectangular prism. No ruler, no measurements, wrong answer. Really, that question is more like real life than anything else on the test: a totally unreasonable expectation. (Maybe it's just me.)
-- John Metz