The Professor of Mathematics of the 9th grade class asks his students: “Get your calculator and solve the following exercise: Anne is 6 years older than twice the age of John, If Anne is 42, How old is John? ” Although it is a simple problem whose answer is 18, only 8 of every 100 ninth-grade boys are able to answer it without a calculator.
For that reason, find it impossible to find answers to exercises that involve using physical or chemical formulas.
The poor handling of these materials was evidenced by the diagnostic tests applied two years ago to 12,000 students of 284 schools, both public and private.
With these questionnaires, the Ministry of Public Education (MEP), San Jose, Costa Rica, replaced ninth-grade national examinations. (They were removed in 1998) So if they are not passing take away the requirements instead of improving the system.
The most critical situation occurs in Mathematics.
60% of school children just have a basic grasp of the subject and another 22% does not even reach that level. Only 8% are in the highest level and the remaining 10% in the intermediate level.
Yessenia Obando, Management and Educational Quality of the MEP, said that this test was difficult for students because they are not allowed to use the calculator.
“Those who did better were in academic colleges, and private day, and are usually male”, he said Obando.
For his part, Ramon Mora Azofeifa, who also works in that direction MEP, said that occurred than expected Sciences.
“Teachers are at the most easily managed by students. The more complex are put aside, perhaps for lack of laboratories, “said Mora.
Luis Gerardo Meza, director of the School of Mathematics at the Technological Institute of Costa Rica (ITCR), believes that overuse of the calculator make the students not adequately learn the content.
“The boys are not interested in learning the math but more taking the tests with calculator and solving by tricks, and that means there is resistance to think, to work.
Meanwhile, Isabel Torres, academic career in Science Teaching National University (UNA), holds that there is poor preparation of teachers.
“Most teachers (Science) are graduates of private universities and curricula are well below what should be,” said Torres.
Another reason given by the specialists, is that students do not feel close the matter. Which is another job of the teachers to excite the students about the subject.
“The contents should be linked to everyday life, but that does not overlap. Then students will learn it by heart, not something that belongs to another planet, “added Torres.