Saturday, February 11, 2006

Math and the Police

Should police officers have a basic facility with math? Should they be able to solve these problems?

1. $36,750 ÷ 52 =

2. $13,472 ÷ 13 =

3. $13 x 31 =

4. $314 x 5 =

6. 10% of $87,000 =


What if they're Criminal Justice majors from a college or university. Should they be able to solve those problems?

Apparently not.

3 comments:

rightwingprof said...

Story time.

A department store in town was going out of business and had a clearance sale, so a few of my colleagues and I drove over to see if there was anything really cheap we could use in the department. While there, we overheard a conversation between several students who were taking our class (since it's one of the highest enrollment courses on campus, that's not unusual) and they were complaining about the math skills required -- you know, the, "When are we ever going to use this stuff? Nobody uses math in the real world" complaint.

We then came to a large set of shelves with a sign over it that said 50% off. Each shelf contained items of a specific price. There was also a sign, well, a chart, that listed all of the prices, and what 50% off was for each.

We looked at each other. One of my colleagues said, "Don't say it, we're all thinking the same thing."

Mike T said...

As I recall I did problems like this in 5-6-7 grade...in Louisiana Schools!

I had no problem doing the first three by hand...the last two I did in my head. If you can't do the last one in your head, I really think we have a problem here...

Darren, your class is 7th Grade Algebra right?

Darren said...

I teach high school now. But these problems aren't algebra, high school or otherwise.

I'd hope that students who saw problems like these on the high school exit exam would chuckle at their good fortune.