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Originally published Monday, December 5, 2005 at 12:00 AM

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Strengths, weaknesses of students' math abilities

Each year, the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction analyzes where students, as a group, have trouble in math on the WASL. Here's a sampling from...

Each year, the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction analyzes where students, as a group, have trouble in math on the WASL. Here's a sampling from this year's analysis:

FOURTH GRADE

Strengths:

• Algebraic sense, such as understanding how to write an equation to determine how many barrettes two girls have, if one has four in her hair and another has three.

• Locating points on a grid, recognizing reflections and lines of symmetry (geometric sense).

• Converting minutes to hours, or minutes to seconds, or hours to minutes.

Weaknesses:

• Understanding relative values of whole numbers and fractions, such as knowing that 36,700 is less than 37,600, and determining what's larger: 2/3 or 3/5.

• Comparing and interpreting information in a chart.

• Organizing data for a given purpose, such as in a chart, or to support a point of view.

SEVENTH GRADE

Strengths:

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• Explaining or describing mathematical information.

• Solving single-variable, one- and two-step equations.

• Identifying what information is needed, and what isn't, to solve a problem.

Weaknesses:

• Figuring out a method to solve a problem and justifying the results.

• Determining percents.

• Taking data that's in one form and putting it in another, such as making a chart or graph.

10TH GRADE

Strengths:

• Understanding ratio, percent, proportion.

• Ability to interpret tables and graphs.

• Converting units of measurement.

Weaknesses:

• Analyzing complex information in a table or chart to draw conclusions about what the data say.

• "Great" difficulty figuring out how perimeter, area, surface area or volume changes when, for example, the side of a rectangle changes. Confusing circumference of circle with area of circle.

• Determining the number of possible outcomes in a probability question.

Source: Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction

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